Tool For Tuesday: Worst Things First.

Gold medal Olympian swimmer John Naber said,

“Do you know the difference between discipline and responsibility?
“Responsibility means keeping the promises you make to others.  Discipline means keeping the promises you make to yourself.”

So here (thank you to Melody for drawing my attention to this!) are seven

tips for keeping the promises you make to yourself.

1. Check in with someone else. Some people call this book-ending. Make a phone call or send an email and swap plans. Follow up.

2. It is not only first things first. It is worst things first. Get the thing you like to do LEAST out of the way FIRST. Do what you don’t want to do first and then reward yourself with what you do want to do.

3. Set a time limit. If you have a major project, break it down by time. Give yourself 30 minutes to tackle something and then take a break. The amount of time we have to do something is usually the amount of time it takes.

4. Set a space limit. Gotta clean a closet? Do it a shelf at a time. Need to pack up your house. Go room by room. We all need boundaries so we don’t get overwhelmed.

5. Reward yourself. Indulge in something you might not do after completing a task. This could be something as simple as allowing extra time to read a novel.

6. Remind yourself that procrastination is just a five-syllable word for being lazy. This usually jolts me into action.

7. Finally, keep sight of your goals. Don’t let the little annoyances throw you off track. Don’t fall into the mind-set of, “I’ll never win a Pulitzer Prize, anyway.” You’re responsible only for the effort, not for the outcome.

Tool for Tuesday: Worst Things First.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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2 Responses to Tool For Tuesday: Worst Things First.

  1. Diana, this is superb, the exact reminder I needed for today and for this week.
    Especially the part about being responsible only for the effort, not the outcome. Ohboy, especially that one. Thank you.

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