In this post, you will learn about two of the twenty habits of “20 Habits to be a Superwoman” which will help you to use that mental power with laser-like focus instead of wasting it on “being busy” without getting anything done.
Habit 13 – Having a personal mission statement
“Build something you’re passionate about. As an entrepreneur, you have to have the passion and drive to stay the course.” – Alexandra Chong (CEO and founder of Lulu)
It doesn’t matter if you want to change the world with a startup or if you just want to get through the semester – a personal mission statement will help you reach your goals.
Think of it as a lighthouse – where ever you are, you never lose sight of it. With every step, you can move closer to it. It gives you an anchor in life, helps to keep you focused and makes it easier to make decisions.
Your mission statement doesn’t have to be permanent – you will revisit it regularly. If you are studying, your mission statement could simply be to graduate successfully with certain scores. Then, you’d have to change it, to reflect your next goals.
Also, it’s only effective if you really keep it in your mind – writing it down and forgetting about it won’t work. Put it up somewhere where you can see it daily, read it every morning, remember it every time you go to bed. This mission statement will focus your energy and efforts so you can break through any obstacle until you reach your goals.
Such a statement should also serve as guidance. If your goal was to graduate with high scores, but you are often lazy and procrastinate a lot, keeping this goal in mind will help you make the right decisions. When you think about Netflix vs assignments, your mission statement will tell you clearly which of the two you need to pick. The only question is whether your mission is important enough for you to put it above most other things in life. (Hint: if it’s not – it’s not truly your mission. Dig deeper!)
Now let’s create your mission statement together. First, you need to define where you want to go. Graduating could be your goal, but I’d go a little further. Maybe you are studying medicine – but ultimately want to become a doctor and save lives. That’s your mission. So, write down what you want to do, achieve or be – for example: “I want to be a doctor and saves lives.”
Next, define the how: What are you going to do to reach this goal? “I will graduate by studying hard, watching less TV and always doing all assignments on time.”
If you have enough desire to reach your goal (become a doctor, save lives), you should be able to stick to your how. It will be hard, but your path is now clear. By sticking to that path, you know that every step you take is bringing you closer to your ultimate goal. And that’s the power of mission statements.
This habit might seem a little redundant – you already know what you want anyway. But in the midst of the chaos that is our life, we often lose sight of our goals and focus too much on the wrong things. This habit can help you stay on track at all times.
Your Action Plan
Sit down for 10 minutes and write down your mission statements in two sentences: what you want to do/be/achieve, and how you want to achieve it. Then, put it up somewhere where you can see it daily, and make sure to read it out loud every morning.
From time to time, you might have to adjust it a little – do that! Adjusting the how makes sure you keep the path aimed directly at the goal.
Habit 15 – Planning your days in advance
“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir (Writer)
Do your days ever feel like stumbling down the stairs, going too fast to stop, hoping you can somehow stay on your feet until you reach the end? You have so much stuff to do, you don’t even know how you are supposed to finish it all? Planning your days in advance may be the answer you need.
If you look at successful people’s calendars, you will often see that it is densely packed with all kinds of meetings, events, and plans. If you want some of their time, you might have to request it weeks in advance. But if someone comes to you with a request – do you tend to try and do it as soon as possible?
We can’t always focus on what drives us forward the most. But if we take on every little task first, we’ll never get to the important tasks. That’s why it can be very beneficial to plan your day in the evening before. If possible, use the time in the morning for your most important tasks. Block that time out for anything else. You can get the small stuff done later. This way, you can make sure that you get the important things done, no matter what else piles up.
Remember, just because something else comes up today doesn’t mean it’s always more important. Prioritizing well is key. Since you now have a personal mission statement and an action plan, it should be a lot easier to figure out what tasks get you there the fastest. If a task doesn’t help your goals at all, you need to think about whether it is really necessary for you to do it, or if there are other ways to get it done faster.
One habit that many executives have is not checking their emails constantly. They only do it once or twice a day. This way, they can fully focus on the task at hand, since new emails would only be distracting. As they have their day planned out anyway, if anyone needs something, it won’t be today. Yes, this means they say “No” or “Not today” a lot. A habit you need to start doing if you don’t want other people to write your schedule.
Think of it like detoxing – you flush as much crap out of your schedule as you can and try to prevent any new unimportant tasks from blocking your time.
Your Action Steps
Using a to-do-list or similar system, sit down every evening to write down your most important tasks for the next day. Assign as much as possible of that from morning to noon where you have the most energy. Once you have completed the important tasks, you can spend the rest of the day with less impactful work.
You probably block out times for anything where you definitely can’t work or do stuff – like a doctor’s appointment. But are you doing it for yourself, too? Start blocking out time you dedicate to working on things that are important to you and really bring you closer to your goals. That’s sacred time that others don’t get to touch – it’s YOUR time!
Whenever new tasks come in – don’t do them immediately. This will only distract you and destroy your focus. Schedule them for later today, or even better, another day. Before you do, put it in one of three categories: “Important for me”, “Has to be done”, “Kinda should be done”. That’s the order in which you should schedule these tasks, too! Don’t let unimportant tasks steal your time and dare to say no to them. Often, the consequence of not doing them is not that bad, and only short-term. The consequence of not doing the tasks that are important for you? You’ll never reach your goals and dreams and will live an unfulfilling life. It should be easy to decide which of these to do first.
Want more? Read “20 Habits to be a Superwoman” to get all 20 habits and live a happier, healthier and more successful life with just 5 minutes a day!