I attended Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership 1-Day Live Stream event and some things I learned there have been rattling around in my heart since then. This post is part of a series where I list ways to implement some of the things I learned.
Improve just 1% today. Then do it again tomorrow. Trying to make huge improvements quickly leads to disappointment and frustration. ~ Bobby Gruenewald
This quote gives me such peace. I don’t have to undertake a massive self-improvement (or ministry-improvement) plan to get better. I just have to do small things consistently. It can be one small thing that has a big impact done consistently, or it can be several small things one after the other that add up to big improvements.
Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. Luke 16:10 (CEV)
Either way you approach it, here are some things you can do to improve 1% today.
- Take time for yourself -As leaders and entrepreneurs, we spend most of our time taking care of others … and that doesn’t even consider our roles as mothers, wives, daughters, etc, etc …. you know how the list goes on and on. Even in (or especially in) our busiest season, spending just 10 or 15 minutes a day decompressing with something that makes you smile amp up your energy and creativity. Cook your favorite meal, relax in a hot bath, take a walk outside … any thing that makes you feel happy.
- Make mornings easier – Mornings set the tone for your whole day, so if mornings tend to get you down, find one small change that will set you up for success during the day.
- Get ready the night before – I love going to bed, knowing I have a plan for the next day. Otherwise, my brain will keep spinning long after my head hits the pillow, reminding me of the things I need to remember not to forget!
- Set reminders on your phone for things you are prone to forget – My phone has become a reminder machine. I put reminders on my appointments and most of my to-dos. This definitely makes me better!
- Start your working time strong and focused – Whether it is at your 9-to-5 “real” job, or your ministry or business work, decide what you are going to do before you sit down to start doing it. I like to write down three things I am going to do on a sticky note and stick them on the edge of my computer screen. That keeps me focused when I am prone to start chasing rabbits.
- Work in a space that makes you happy – If you have a well-organized working space at your home or office, that’s a great place to get most of your work done. But sometimes, a change of scenery does you good. Your favorite coffee shop, a beautiful space outdoors, even hanging out at a friend’s kitchen table while you both work. If you feel good about being there, you’ll feel good about what you accomplish there.
- Wake up earlier -Our brains are generally wired to be most productive in the morning, so hop out of bed as early as you can and get going. If the thought of getting up 30 minutes earlier makes you want put a pillow over your alarm clock, set the alarm one minute earlier every day for 30 days!
- Identify 52 small things you want to fix and do one each week – On your blog, in your organization, around your house … those small things that just get under your skin, but you never make time for. Make a list of them and do just one every week. Imagine the peace you’ll feel this time next year!
- Create an idea capture system – All those ideas floating around in our heads are probably the biggest drain on our brain power. Use a kept-handy notebook, voice memos on your phone or one of the other brilliant ideas in this post.
- Spend 5 minutes at the end of the day clearing your desk – My desk used to be a mountain of papers, sticky notes, folders and handouts. You could tell what I had done for the last week (or month!) by just working through the layers. But recently, I’ve been developing the habit to clear off my desk at the end of the day. Papers I don’t need any more (or can easily be retrieved from my computer) get thrown away. The things I need for my first tasks of the next day are neatly stacked. And if I’ve left anything incomplete at the end of the day, I write them on a sticky note on top of the stack so I remember where I left off.
- Keep a log – There is just something about putting pen to paper that gives things more value. But journaling every day may not be your thing. (It’s not mine, either). Try keeping a log instead. Any kind of log. A list of things you accomplished. A gratitude log. A communication log. Anything that causes you to intentionally reflect on your day or week will help you make improvements. For some reason, keeping it like a bulleted list rather than a prose journal makes my linear brain happy.
- Use what you already have – Sometimes we think if we just had a slicker software or a faster app or the latest gadget, things would be a whole lot easier. But before investing in that shiny new thing, make sure you are getting the most out of what you already have. Most of us use only a fraction of the functionality available in the things we have.
So there you go. Twelve things you can do to improve 1% today. Then do it again tomorrow. Which one will you try?