Have you ever had trouble maintaining a consistent effort?
Sometimes something else comes up. Sometimes you aren’t in the mood. And sometimes you just forget. Lack of consistency, for whatever reason, is a problem most people struggle with (I know I have). Life is full of distractions and other important tasks and obligations that need to be completed and met. However, consistency is important not only in your quest to achieve your goals, but also in how other perceive you.
People who are consistent are often associated with words like reliable or trustworthy and people who are inconsistent are often associated with words like unreliable or flaky. Here are some of the ways that I have learned to be more like the former and less like the latter.
First, keep a calendar. In our world of technology and constant stimulus, it is easy to forget the things that you have planned to do. The best way to remember everything you have to do is to not remember at all. Write it down in an organized format. I use a written notebook for “to do” lists and the calendar on my phone and laptop for meetings or events that I need to attend. The beauty of technology allows my phone and laptop to alert me with a gentle vibrate 30 minutes before I need to be anywhere. Once you know where you need to be, the rest is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.
Second, know when to say yes and when to say no. If you say yes to everything that people ask of you and every opportunity that pops up, then you will likely not have the time or energy to fulfill all of those obligations. By knowing when to say no you guarantee that you are maximizing the little time and energy you have and you are directing it in the most efficient way possible to your goals. As far as knowing when to say yes and when to say no, there is no check list. You personally must examine your individual goals and time restrictions to know what you are able to do and what you are not.
Third, partner with people who are involved in similar activities. These people will motivate you to complete your tasks when you may not be feeling up to it. My roommate and I used to work out together. Somedays I would not want to go because I was feeling tired. He would put his shoes on while I sat on the couch and tell me all the reasons I had wanted to go to the gym in the first place. Next thing I knew, I was putting on my own shoes and walking with him to the gym. Life is not meant to be easy. Work is not meant to be easy. Luckily the things that are difficult tend to be the most valuable in the end. Luckily, we do not have to do the difficult things alone.
Now that I have posted a few articles on different subjects concerning personal development I often feel that I am repeating myself. Initially, I thought that this might be because I am running out of things to say or advice to give. However, after further examination, I do not think this is the case. I believe this repetition occurs because the things that people need to do to improve are simple and not large in number (that does not mean that they are easy to do). Here are the three main things that apply to all aspects of personal and professional development.
- Organize yourself. You can follow my advice or you can make it all your own. The key is to have a structured system that allows you to more easily direct your actions consistently towards your goals.
- Don’t do too much or too little. You always want to make sure that you are taking actions that move you closer to your goals. However, you do now want to be doing so much that the quality of your efforts suffer. Do quality work.
- Work with others. No one knows everything. This is true even for Stephen Hawking. Once you can accept this about yourself it becomes easy to look at the people around you and determine how you can help them and how they can help you. It took more than one person to build Rome and more than one person to build the Empire State Building. By working with others there are few limits to what we can accomplish.