Productivity

How to Fully Maximize Your Day: Find Out Your Purpose of The Day in 10 Minutes

Can you confidently answer this question: What is your purpose of the day?

 

Most people will not be able to answer this question as their day (and life) are now dictated by their bosses, colleagues, and even friends. These people will determine their purpose of the day, what they do and when they get to go back home.

 

Here’s an extract from the sensational movie, Wonder Woman

 

Etta Candy: I’m Steve Trevor’s secretary.

Wonder Woman: What is a secretary?

Etta Candy: I go where he tells me to go, I do what he tells me to do.

Wonder Woman: Where I come from, that’s called slavery.

Etta Candy: I like her!

 

Well, that doesn’t just apply to the profession of the secretary, doesn’t it?

 

To fully maximize your day, I recommend you to have a purpose of the day (“POTD”). By having a clear POTD, you will start your day with enthusiasm and end the day feeling satisfied.

 

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose.” – Will Smith

 

Let’s dive into how you can craft your own POTD in just 10 minutes.

 

Identify the 3 Criteria for Your Purpose of The Day (“POTD”):

 

Criteria #1 – A Purpose Related to Your Goal

 

Firstly, define your goal for the next 6 or 12 months (depends on your current situation and complexity of your goal).

 

Your POTD should be something that will complement your end goal. We will discuss in detail below by having few examples, combining all three criteria.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but by having a clear POTD, it will push you closer to building your own Rome. It is the small incremental progress that will all add up nicely in the end.

 

People often see the “overnight” success, and not realizing that those are the results of many “overtime nights”, where successful people grind, with a clear purpose to move towards to.

 

Criteria #2 – A Habit to Cultivate

 

The second criteria are a habit that you want to cultivate based on the goal.

 

For example:

  • Going to the gym from Monday to Friday
  • Write one article every day
  • Start a side business by hustling every day after work
  • Play the piano every day
  • Reading a book a day

 

On average, it takes 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic. Embrace the process to form a new habit as any worthwhile achievement will take time.

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

 

Criteria #3 – A Purpose That Will Make You Proud and Happy

 

You should be proud and happy if you have completed your POTD. If you are not satisfied even after completing your POTD, your POTD is either too menial or your goal (in the first criteria) is not really something that you are excited about.

 

The best way to know is to ask yourself “will I be happy if I completed my POTD”?

 

Or if money is not an issue, what will be your main theme for today?

 

Putting It All Together: Crafting Your POTD based on the 3 Criteria

 

The key difference between a habit and a POTD is that your habit will be something constant that you want to cultivate and do every day, your POTD on the other hand, is something specific that you want to achieve by the end of the day, incorporating that habit.

 

A POTD may vary each day, while a habit stays constant throughout.

 

Let’s look at some examples for better clarity:

 

Example 1

Criteria 1: Goal – Be an author by the end of 2017.

Criteria 2: Habit – Write for three hours every day.

POTD – Write an article on “Productivity” and publish on the blog (a specific task).

Criteria 3: Does achieving the POTD makes you proud and happy – Yes/No

 

Example 2

Criteria 1: Goal – Read 25 books a year.

Criteria 2: Habit – Read 50 pages every day.

POTD – Read 50 pages of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a specific task).

Criteria 3: Does achieving the POTD makes you proud and happy – Yes/No

 

Example 3

Criteria 1: Goal – Build 5 pounds of muscles in 6 months.

Criteria 2: Habit – Hit the gym and workout 5 times a week from Monday to Friday and eat 2,500 calories every day.

POTD – Workout chest muscles on International Chest Day and prepare food according to meal plan of 2,500 calories (a specific task).

Criteria 3: Does achieving the POTD makes you proud and happy – Yes/No

 

You should get a clearer idea now on how to craft your own POTD.

 

Ultimately, your habit will be the backbone of your varying POTD, in example 2 above, your habit is to read 50 pages every day, but your POTD for the next day might be reading 50 pages of How to Win Friends and Influence People instead of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the clear distinction between a habit and a POTD.

 

If you have more than one goal (say you want to lose weight and be an author), you will have two POTD.

 

Try not to have too many goals at once as you will find it hard to commit to achieving multiple goals. Aim to have only a maximum of 2 goals and 2 POTD at a time.

 

Once you have your POTD ready, here are 3 tips to ease you into achieving your POTD:

 

1. Get Started and Avoid Distractions

 

In the age of social media, people are getting more distracted and are often glued to their phones.

 

In the old days we only have the TV to distract us, but now we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit and Pinterest to add on to our variety of options for procrastination.

 

To combat this and achieve your POTD, get started and avoid distractions:

 

1.1 Get Started

 

Getting started will create a snowball effect. The beauty of starting something is, once you are willing to take the first step, the second, third, and fourth step will get easier and easier.

 

Without realizing, you would have taken the final step to achieving your POTD and you will feel glad that you have taken the first and most crucial step.

 

For example, it is difficult to leave the house to go the gym, but once you get there, you will start working out, and at the end of the workout, you will be pleased that you chose to workout and not sleep for another hour.

 

Just by getting your ass off the couch and leaving the house, you will create a snowball effect and momentum to get you to the gym, finish the workout, and achieve your POTD.

 

Another example, when you first want to enter the swimming pool to practice, the water might seem too cold. However, if you just take the leap and jump into the pool and shiver for a few seconds, your body will adapt as you start swimming. The hardest part is to actually enter the pool.

 

Or on some days, when I have writer’s block, it is difficult for me to start writing as I do not have ideas or inspiration, however, once I open my Microsoft Word and just start to type my first sentence, the next few sentences will flow naturally, ideas pop up out of nowhere and I will continuously write and write and write and write for hours…..

 

The hardest thing to do is taking the first step.

 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

 

1.2 Avoid Distractions

 

Research shows that high amounts of social media usage lead to lower level of performance of tasks.

 

As such, avoid the following distractions before you have completed your POTD:

 

a) Social Media (e.g Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest)

b) YouTube

c) Emails

d) TV

e) Newspaper

 

As we now know, by starting something, you will slowly build up the momentum to keep going.

 

However, the ugly side of this is, if you start using social media, it will be difficult to get out from this cycle, you will keep on scrolling your news feed in Facebook, check out photos from Instagram and tweets from Twitter.

 

Another similar situation would be if you tell yourself “I will just watch one YouTube video before I carry out my POTD.” The outcome? You will watch more than one video (guaranteed) and time flies like a flash.

 

A final example, just by opening your emails will lead to a few series of events. You will open a link, read an article and the article will have links to another article, and that article somehow links you to their Facebook page and now you are hooked. (Trust me, I have tried it many times and have finally learned my lesson – no opening emails until POTD is completed!)

 

I am not saying don’t watch YouTube videos or check your Instagram, however, it is recommended that you do it after you have completed your POTD. Aim to have a good start to your day.

 

You can either use the power of getting started to your advantage or disadvantage. Choose wisely.

 

2. Eat the Frog

 

If possible, achieve your POTD in the morning after your daily morning routine. Go ahead and eat the frog. Get it done and your day will be started in the best possible way, paving a smooth path for a great day ahead.

 

Another reason to set your POTD as your first major task of the day is that you will inevitably face plenty of distractions throughout the day.

 

Emails will come in, colleagues seeking for help, a client needs some advice, your boss adds on to your heavy workload, and you will end up putting out fire everywhere you go.

 

Before the potential chaos of the day kicks in, and you becoming a “firefighter”, do something productive by achieving your POTD in the morning. Even if you don’t complete any other things by the end of the day, you would have at least done something productive which will take you a step closer to your end goal.

 

3. Don’t Break the Chain

 

Jerry Seinfeld, who is one of the greatest comedians of all time, explained that he uses a specific technique to write jokes every day. Jerry keeps a calendar on his wall and would cross out the date on the calendar daily with a big red X after he has written.

 

Try to apply this technique in your POTD.

 

After a few days of crossing the X, you will notice a chain and the chain will get longer and longer each day. By having the chain of red X on your calendar, you will be reminded daily to do the work and continue to grow the chain.

 

You will find it easier to not break the chain if you are consistently getting started, avoid distractions and eating the frog.

 

It doesn’t matter what goal you are pursuing, consistency is the key to achieving your goals.

 

Don’t break the chain!

 

Exceptions from the 3 POTD criteria (A One-Off):

 

The 3 POTD criteria discussed above are:

 

  1. A purpose related to your goal.
  2. A habit to cultivate.
  3. A purpose that will make you proud and happy.

 

On some special days, especially on the weekends, it is good to have a one-off POTD that is not related to any of the three criteria above.

 

Some examples would be visiting nursing homes, do volunteering work, meeting a friend that you have not seen for a long time or going on a full day road trip. It could even be giving your wife a surprise party on her 35th birthday. None of these things are related to your goal or a habit that you do every day, but it’s a POTD that will make you happy.

 

Having a one-off POTD will spice things up and make you look forward to the day, especially during the holidays or weekends. Make your life interesting!

 

Conclusion

 

You should take about 10 minutes or less to write down your next day’s POTD before your go to bed. Or you can write it down the first thing in the morning when you wake up, then proceed to carry out the work.

 

When you have a POTD, your day will change, you will no longer just go through the day aimlessly, instead, you will look forward to your days, achieve things that matter most to you and have a fulfilling day with a clear purpose.

 

So go ahead and achieve your POTD.

Over to You

Let me know in the comments below what is your purpose of the day?

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2 thoughts on “How to Fully Maximize Your Day: Find Out Your Purpose of The Day in 10 Minutes

  1. Many people in the world today does not maximize their day because they don’t have any goal or target. We should all know our purpose of the day and go with our own flow. Great article!

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