Three Things You Should Be Doing Every Day
I have spent a lot of time, and angst, and anguish over how my days are spent. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve gone through the years or times past and wondered all you could have become had you just focused. The only problem here is that, as humans, our minds tend to wander ceaselessly. We sit down to do a task and before you know it, you find yourself on the couch, eating pretzels, and watching reruns of New Girl on Netflix.
For those of you who wish to spark their life internally and externally, I’ve been experimenting with various techniques for motivation and direction throughout the year. As it goes, here are three directives which, if applied in good (or even somewhat okay) measure, you will see growth. Do them every day or work them into your habits, but either way, it is universally agreed upon that practice makes perfect and time put in consistently will yield at least some results (though they may vary).
In following with Greek rhetoric, I have listed three essential things that we should be doing every day in order to affirm our value and create an actually useful existence. Anyone with nuance will understand that life is far more complicated than this. But doing this forms the building blocks to making your life better.
The magic of this is that by doing it every day, you will begin to miss the time when you physically can’t perform these habitual duties and tasks. And instead of being chores they’ll feel more like getaways. So without further ado…
1) Do something that affirms your physical viewpoint of yourself.
For me, it’s working out. I enjoy looking good and it drives my sense of self. I can prove my own commitment to myself. And I enjoy being able to look in the mirror and see the benefits. In turn this drives eating habits, good thought processes, and overall healthy living. Plus I enjoy overhearing women ogle at me (trust me ladies, you’re more discreet than men, but we can still notice it and enjoy it).
However, this task does not have to be simply relegated to working out, there just needs to be a physical manifestation. Any physical activity where you can get better and see the outcome of your work, whether it be building a house, surfing, or meditation. The only trick here is that it must be something you do. Track it, log it, take a picture of it. do whatever you need to do physically see your progress and see your growth.
I usually reserve this for the beginning of the day because one act drives another. By physically getting up and getting yourself out there and doing something, it pushes you to act in other areas of your life. It’s only natural for me to come home from the gym and begin washing dishes, cleaning up the kitchen table, or vacuuming while I drink my protein shake. One thing leads to another and often a physical catalyst will Newton Cradle into another.
2) Do something related to your job every day.
Weekend, weekday, before or after work, do something job related. I can’t tell you how many people I see come into work and rely on their 8 hours a day to make them competent at what they do. There are very few jobs out there that require you to be physically on the spot to get better. You can augment your performance in most career fields by seeking opportunities outside the nine-to-five.
And here’s a hidden benefit, I don’t care how much you hate your job, getting better at it will build your self-efficacy. You may not like your job but if you’re good at it, well then hey, at least you’ll feel a little bit better about yourself. And then you’ll begin to see the world in step-to-step algorithms. Applying and advancing in a job you actually love won’t seem so hard because you’ve already done it in an environment you’ve hated.
Also, you can guide your learning and strengthen yourself in fields that you want to go into. You may not exactly enjoy bartending but you like taking inventory and tracking sales metrics. Well guess what your boss may not like doing? And in that way, you make yourself instantly useful. And guess what, your boss will love you. How many managers have been frustrated by employees that only seem to know the bare minimum (or even less than that) of what they do? They’re unwilling to learn off the job, they’re hardly adaptable in a world that requires quick thought and constant adjustment. They wait for the answers instead of seeking the solutions. If you take the time to learn the aspects of your job outside of the normal work hours, you’ll find yourself with quite a bit of job security. Good times or bad times, you’ll always have a job opportunity because you’ve worked to make yourself useful instead of middling by and just waiting for something better to fall in your lap.
So here’s my strategy for accomplishing this; commit yourself to a time goal. An hour an hour, 30 minutes, or just one task. We all know at least one thing we can do on the side to make ourselves more complete people when we come in to work. So I don’t care if it’s the weekend, 6 am, or 12 pm, do a task. Competence in what you’re paid to do builds confidence in knowing you can accomplish the next step in life.
3) Do something related to what you want to be in the future.
As you can see, for me it’s writing. At the end of the day when I’m too old and infirm to bartend, I envision myself writing just as I am now. But the work begins today. And don’t get me wrong, I know my work is most likely crappy. And while there is something to be said for positive self-talk, there’s also something to be noted for casual realism. But at the same time, this should not stop you from trying. So envision yourself five, ten, twelve years from now? What do you want to be? Work towards it.
And then comes the second and often times hardest part; you gotta put it out there. Take your creation, throw it against the wall, and see the feedback. Take what’s useful, leave the rest. Consider it all in full. But you’ll never know if you’re actually getting better or not unless you get some sort of feedback. And in that feedback, find a mentor. Seek advice. Read and learn how to get better. Then practice again the next day and see what comes back to you. But at the end of it all, you must be fearless in your attempts. Do not hide your efforts in the shadows, congratulating yourself on your accomplishment. Bring it out into the harsh light of day, and see if it actually holds to public opinion.
So for me, it’s dedicating your time to a singular task. Like writing this one article. It may suck, I may not like it or think it could be better. But once you finish it, finish it and be done. Put it out in the universe. IF could be you learning a dance move, or trying a new dish, or coding a simple video game. But accomplishing one task proves your staying power. It proves your ability to sit down, get something done and see it through to the end.
One final note.
There are days where you’re going to suck at this. There may be days where you go into the gym, do 5 exercises, and then go home. There may be days where you sit down and do 10 minutes worth of work in the hour that you’ve allotted yourself. The only key here is that you do it. You may get distracted by YouTube music videos and find yourself trying to refocus 5 minutes later after trying to replicate Bruno Mars’ finesse dance. All of these things I’ve done. But the point here is that you’re doing something. You’re advancing. It’s the solid knowledge that some practice is better than no practice tempered with the forgiveness that you don’t need to be the best right now and you don’t need to take life so seriously that you miss the small things.
Everything else on top of that is a cherry on top. That extra hour you spend learning your job. The extra minutes you spend proofreading or researching for your writing. The additional exercises you do for the day after your basic workout is done, that’s all stuff that helps you improve and affirms that you’re on the right course and advancing.
And in the end, you can rest easy watching that Netflix series or browsing those social media comments knowing that you’ve spent your day in good nature. That while you are relaxing, you are doing so after a hard day’s work. And there is no better feeling than that.