The Question You Need to Start Your Day With

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Does this scene sound familiar?

It’s the end of the day, and you’re sitting at your desk. As you shuffle some papers around for the hundredth time, you think to yourself, “Well, I got pretty much nothing done today. Eight hours of wasted time that I’ll never get back.”

You’ve had days like this, right? I know I have. And honestly, they feel pretty crappy. Or rather, I feel pretty crappy when I have a day like that. But mostly I feel disappointed—and a little angry—at myself for having wasted a day. Is that your experience as well?

Don’t you wish there were a way to keep days like this from happening, or at least minimize them? Well, there is—and it comes down to one question. One question that you need to ask yourself at the beginning of each day:

What is my intent for today? 

When I have one of those “wasted” days, it’s almost invariably because I’ve spent the day being reactive instead of proactive. I’ve spent the day reacting:

  • to emails
  • to phone calls
  • to “Hey, do you have a second?” interruptions
  • to cat videos on Facebook

The problem with spending a day in reactive mode is that your day is then defined by other people’s agendas. And when your day is defined by other people’s agendas, is it any wonder that you’re left feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything?

When you spend your day reacting to other people, you’re abdicating your day to other people’s agendas. Click To Tweet

But if you start your day with the question, What is my intent for today?, you put yourself in proactive mode. You’re now defining your day by your agenda. You’re in charge—not the people posting the cat videos.

The reason is that this question is all about focus. This is not your all-inclusive “to do” list! When you ask yourself this question each morning, I want you to think of it this way:

What is the one thing that I’m going to accomplish today—no matter what; the one thing that will move the needle; the one thing that will make the biggest positive difference in my work, my business, and my life?

What is the ONE thing you will accomplish today that will make the biggest positive difference in your life? #goals Click To Tweet

Also, I used the word “intent” very intentionally. I didn’t say “What is my hope for today?” A hope is a wish; an intent is a commitment.

A hope is a wish; an intent is a commitment. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself this question—What is my intent for today?—every morning (yes, weekends too—even if your Saturday intent is to binge watch House of Cards). Because when you live each day with intent, with commitment, you’ll no longer have to go to sleep disappointed in yourself for eight wasted hours.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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