I sat there staring at my list of tasks and projects.
A stress-flash shot down into my chest. I’d never felt this before. Was I having an anxiety attack?
Why was I worrying about my “to-do” list?
Then I realized an important fact about being an entrepreneur: The more you do each day, the more you add to your list the next morning.
I was overwhelming myself. I wasn’t enjoying my work. I was working to cross things off, but also procrastinating more and more.
I knew my mindset was trending in the wrong direction. I was hurting my ability to enjoy my work and get things done.
How do you become more productive with ease?
Last year, I did some research on productivity that I had forgotten about.
Researcher Edward Deci noticed a trend in positive interactions vs. negative and how they influenced productivity.
In his book, Why We Do What We Do, Deci explains that when someone has six positive interactions to one negative, they are 31% more productive.
I needed to appreciate my work and not just cross things off my list. I’m lucky to do the work that I do.
So, I pulled out my journal and wrote down why I was grateful for each important task:
- I’m grateful for my ability to write clearly and effectively to help my client grow his business.
- I’m grateful for reaching out to a few potential clients because I know I can help them improve their conversions.
- I’m grateful for adding expenses and income into my accounting software because it helps show me how healthy my business is today.
This exercise helped me bring gratitude to each task I wanted to do. I just needed to appreciate that these were tasks I wanted to do, not things I had to do.
Evaluate your mindset
The hardest part of my day was the stop-and-go that occurred again and again.
Someone would email or text me and I would answer, then I would go back to my other work. I would have a meeting, then go back to my client work.
I was being pushed and pulled in 100 different directions. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, but most days I felt like I was doing too many things.
I also realized that I needed to appreciate my priorities more. If I just did whatever came in, I was overloading myself. I needed to step back and enjoy what could come out of each project.
For example, one of my clients thought that one of their low-performing products could use some better copy and design. We tried a few experiments, but nothing worked.
I thought I was just being lazy, but my gratitude journal showed me something else.
I tried to write about what I enjoyed about the project. I kept coming back to learning about the client and not the actual project. That’s when I realized the current project my client had us working on wasn’t motivating everyone.
I didn’t feel much gratitude for it, so I went back to our client and asked them about their specific goal.
We then shifted our attention to their highest performing product and the energy came right back.
Energize with gratitude
Using your time throughout the day to track what you appreciate and what you don’t helps guide your choices.
If you notice you are procrastinating, then bust out your gratitude journal. You’ll see whether or not you are able to bring some energy to the project.
I’ve noticed that most of the time I can bring energy to a project by focusing on what I appreciate about it.
By taking the time to do this, I’m allowing myself to pause before I jump into the next task.
It’s this pause that has helped me appreciate the work that I do each day.
I want you to take that first step toward strengthening your mindset, so you can be more aware of your bad habits and use them to grow your happiness.
Start with a gratitude journal and find a support network to help you keep building the gratitude habit. Keep it simple.
Just write what you are grateful for, and why, every day for 30 days.
I suggest something like this:
- I’m grateful for my first cup of coffee this morning because it gave me the boost I needed to start my first project.
- I’m grateful for my designer because he always gives me great feedback on how we can improve the client’s conversion rate.
- I’m grateful for my computer because it boots up quickly and if I need to hop on a call I don’t want to wait long.
The “why” is important because it helps deepen the gratitude journal experience. Within a few days you will begin to see an improvement in your outlook.
If you are interested, join my free 30-Day Bring Gratitude Challenge running in May.
You’ll get email updates and an invitation to a private Facebook group. If you have any questions, I’ll be available seven days a week during this time.
My goal is to get the smartest and most caring people together to create an amazing community, so we can help each other learn from our mistakes and build lives we love.