You spend your days jumping from one task to the next. Answer this call. Answer this email. Do this. Do that.
You keep telling yourself that you’ll find time to think about your long-term goals when everything quiets down. But somehow, this strategic thinking time never seems to happen.
And you know what? It never will.
Effective people don’t wait to strategize. They do it first.; I literally mean first — first thing in the morning, before most people are eating breakfast.
Early mornings are a great time for taking care of those important but not urgent tasks that life tends to crowd out – tasks like nurturing your business and asking what you want it to become. There are a few reasons for this:
First? Logistics. Unless you’re working with a team in Europe, no one’s calling you at 6 a.m. Emails aren’t piling up, and no one will interrupt you. If you’ve got kids, they’re (hopefully!) still asleep.
Mornings are a time you can invest in yourself and your career without the hassle of working around conference calls and other people’s priorities.
Second? There’s good evidence that we focus better in the mornings. New research into the science of willpower is finding that our sense of self-discipline is strongest in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
That means that in the morning, willpower is there in abundance, ready to be used wisely. It gets depleted through the day as we make decisions and deal with difficult people.
Use your morning time to pursue what should be a top professional priority, and here are some questions to ask yourself to begin building some strategic thinking time:
- If you gave yourself a performance review, what would it say?
- What would you hope your performance review would say one year from now? Five years from now?
- Who would you like to work with on a project someday?
- If someone offered to pay you for 6 months to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?
- What is your dream project? Who is your dream client?
- How could you boost your income by $2000 next month? How could you boost it by 25% next year?
These are all good questions you should ask. No one knows where the answers will lead you, but if you figure out those answers, you’ll probably wind up in more interesting places than if you didn’t ask these questions at all.
Thinking about your career should happen regularly, even if it doesn’t happen regularly now. And effective people know that if something has to happen, it has to happen first.
So why not set an alarm or stop hitting snooze?