Last year I read Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, and was struck with how many applicable tactics were presented. I had multiple lightbulb moments in terms of how I approach my day and my business. I realized many adjustments I could make to better work with my personality. If you are struggling with building habits or building a system to your day, I recommend picking up this book.
The central premise is that when it comes to building habits we fall into four tendencies. I’ll tell you a little more about the tendencies below, but you should go take Rubin’s quiz to see what tendency you fall under.
The Four Tendencies
Upholder: Respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.
Questioners: Question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified.
Obligers: Respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations
Rebels: Resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
—(Better Than Before, pg. 16)
In addition to her book, she has a podcast, Happier, where you can learn more about the four tendencies and how to work better within your tendency.
I’m an obliger, but I have some questioner tendencies. Which is kind of hard when you are starting your own solopreneur business. I mean for my clients, me being an obliger is awesome, and it means that I’m committed to them.
However, all the 12,001 tasks that it takes to get clients, and get the business up and running that no one sees, well that is a bit harder. To be honest I’m still working on my ideal day, and what that means to me, but I’m WAY more productive now than I was several months ago.
Something super super simple that worked, was just a shift in how I thought about my tasks that were not directly client related as tasks still for clients. So information shared on social media, is helping to spread good information an entrepreneur would need, or SEO is so an entrepreneur struggling might find me, etc. You get the idea, and I know that seems kind of silly when it’s written out (or if I said it out loud), but it’s enough of a mind-set change for me.
Another trick to creating a better day is to schedule out my day in advance the day before. This is not a new concept, but it is one I resisted because I felt like my to-do list was more than long enough to keep me busy from now until forever, so why do I need to pick tasks the day before to work on and hold myself to that schedule. I have a whole list!
The first chapter of Better Than Before, is what finally pushed me to try the scheduling method. Rubin talks about why habits are important, because they help preserve our self-control or willpower. As we make more and more decisions during the day we become fatigued, and lose self-control. Which I realized is so true for me, it was much harder not to cave to turning on the TV when I had to decide what to work on next, as opposed to having what was next right there on my schedule.
While not directly related to any one part of the book, overall Rubin’s book inspired me to be more intentional about my time and my actions. I even took Intentional as my word for 2016.
It’s the whole your days build your life concept. I try to link any habits I’m building back to the bigger reason. For example, I want to do yoga at least 3 times a week. That’s the habit, but then I wrote out why I want to do yoga: to get in shape, to be healthy, reduce stress….on and on. It truly helps me to better stick to my schedule/habits when I can remind myself of the the bigger picture “why”.
If you are struggling to get the tasks done you set out for yourself day to day, you really need to sit down and think about why. And start working on ways to make yourself more accountable to your goals. I struggled so much last year when I was trying to figure out my direction, it was so hard for me to find focus and stick to the tasks I set out for myself day to day.
I had to work on why I wasn’t doing what I told myself I would, and figure out ways to keep myself motivated. If you are struggling with staying motivated, why don’t you click here and schedule a 20 minute call with me.
The call does not oblige you to buy anything. I was there, feeling stuck and lost, and wondering why I couldn’t make myself do all the things I needed to do for my business, and it felt terrible. If you are feeling that way I would love to try to help you, because let me tell you, getting on the other side of those feelings rocks!
Have you read Better Than Before? What tendency are you?
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