I have discovered that when something unusual happens it is easy to get derailed. In reality, it does not take something out of the ordinary to get any of us out of our routines. How do you get back on track when for whatever reason you find yourself sidetracked?
- Develop or redevelop a regular schedule. For years I was resistant to develop a template for the “normal” workweek. After all in my life, no two days were ever the same. How could I develop an ideal schedule? It is apparent that this was just an excuse. My discovery was that once I developed an outline of how I would work each week, it became easier to become more efficient. Harder tasks were scheduled for times when my focus was optimal. For me, that is earlier in the day. By designing a regular schedule I was able to account for the days when my calendar needed to be adjusted.
- Start small. There is a temptation to start big and bold when you are getting started with new habits. The problem with starting out in an aggressive manner is that discouragement will set in quite quickly. Someone who needs to lose weight decides to lose 50 pounds in a month. If you have never run a race in your life, it is unrealistic to run a marathon next week. We like big, bold, and audacious plans when the small, steady, consistent, incremental positive changes over time lead to big results!
- Learn from setbacks. Unforeseen difficulties grow like weeds in the garden. Rather than giving up take some time out today and ask “what have, I learned during this time?” Life lessons are everywhere. Develop the awareness to not waste any of them! “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and five minutes thinking about the solution.” (Albert Einstein)
- Make a commitment. Commit to getting back on track. “Unless commitment is made there are only promises and hope but no plan.” (Peter Drucker) Decide today that you are going to make a commitment and decide you are going to take positive action today regardless of how small. You will never get on track without making a commitment!
- Create an environment for productivity. Declutter and remove anything in your workspace that will distract you. Before you begin the day make sure you have available the items you will need to get started. This may be files, emails, equipment, and documents that will be needed to finish your tasks. Much time is lost frantically searching for things at the last minute. This can all be avoided by preparing beforehand. This is something I do the night before. This enables me to start the next day with confidence.
- Hold yourself accountable. There are people who we are accountable to, but no one is responsible for us in all areas that job belongs to us. Nothing in life happens until we become serious about holding ourselves to our commitments. Take the responsibility, sure you will have setbacks but keep at it, give yourself grace but hold yourself accountable.
- Change things up. One way to stay on track periodically is to do things differently. in the process, you may discover a better and more effective way of accomplishing the task at hand. Habits are great, ruts not so much. If you do something early in the day experiment with doing it at another time. This will help you to remain flexible and creative.
- Today is the best day to start. Someday is not on the calendar. Today is all you have and it is all you are promised. Many great plans and ideas die and are buried in the graveyard of “I will do that tomorrow.” Tomorrow is elusive today is here. Start today! You will be glad you did tomorrow!