The following is a guest post from my friend Karl Staib. Karl helps smart leaders reduce turnover, improve productivity, and multiply creativity, so you and your employees get more done while feeling happy throughout the process. Get the first 6 modules of the Work Happy Now Emergency Kit – Break in case of stress overload for free when you sign up for updates.
An unfortunate incident occurred during my stay at the Portland Marriott last summer.
I went to bed and I forgot to do one of my most important rituals. I didn’t do my 2 minute meditation and review of my day.
I took off my clothes, brushed my teeth, plopped into bed, and fell asleep.
Yes, it was 1 a.m., but I woke up mad at myself.
Of course, after I woke up, I tried to shake it off this upset feeling, but I couldn’t. As I sat there listening to the speaker up on stage, I realized why. Those 2 minutes of meditation, and 2 minutes of noting my day give me time to process my emotions.
Emotions are very important to being productive.
Before I explain why, let me step back a few hours.
I was at dinner with some friends. I struck up a conversation with a woman next to me. We chatted about the food. I had a lamb burger that was amazing. She had a Salmon salad that actually made me jealous of my lamb burger. We chatted about our kids and we talked about our businesses.
It was a nice conversation. By the end of the night she walked up to me and said, we need someone like you to help us. My team is great, but we could be better. I try to make them happy, but you are right. I don’t create positive experiences that helps them grow as a team. She handed me her card and I had a really good feeling she would become a client.
I smiled and walked back to my hotel. This is when I brushed my teeth and forgot to do my end of the night ritual. I didn’t celebrate the great conversation and the opportunity to land a new client. I just went back to my hotel and went to sleep.
Shame on me!
I didn’t take the advice I give to so many of my clients.
Celebrate your hard work.
When you look back on all the circumstances it took you to get into a certain position it’s amazing. All the hard work. All the time it took for me to be confident in how I communicated. EVERYTHING!
For me to just brush it off wasn’t fair to me.
So I left the conference went to a coffee shop. I took my time to do a little Zen meditation with my coffee, slowly sipping it while I thought about last night. Then I jotted down everything that went well yesterday. I felt so much better.
Then I went back to the conference with a hop in my step.
Gratitude is so important as it helps you stay positive when you are having a rough week. It helps you stay productive even when you feel like crawling under our desks and taking a nap.
So how can you bring more gratitude to your days on a regular basis?
As you probably can guess, I’m going to encourage you to celebrate more. Now the thing is you respond to celebration differently than me, your best friend, and Paul McCartney.
You need to make a celebration plan that brings YOU the most happiness.
Now this is the hard part that most people avoid, but you won’t any longer. I am going to lay it all out for you. Here is my entire process and I suggest you alter it to fit your own personality.
1. Create a Review Ritual that Fits
Use any method that fits your personality. You can use write in a journal, record your voice, video, talk with a generous friend who is willing to listen to your review, etc. When you create a ritual that is fun for you and doesn’t feel like you are receiving a dozen paper cuts on your big toe.
2. Use Action Triggers
The most important part of this is your when and the how (your action triggers). Stick with it for a week before you decide to improve it. I find that I like to review my day after dinner and before I shut down for the night. I meditate for 2 – 15 minutes then I write down the good things that happened during the day. If it’s a big win for me I will make the celebration bigger like going out to dinner, but for the most part just reviewing the positive aspects of my day is celebration enough for me.
Some of you might like to celebrate with a glass of wine or with a piece of chocolate or reading a comic. Do whatever it is that helps you appreciate your hard work. When you implement this habit you will reap the benefits of celebration.
The core idea here is to use celebration as a way to build better and more productive habits.
3. Improve It Over Time
I started out this process by keeping a gratitude journal at the end of each workday for over a year. Then I added components to help me process my struggles, what I could improve on for tomorrow, and any stories that I would like to share with my audience.
As you look over these three steps you are probably thinking about how you can implement it. Good!
Now It’s Your Turn
Take five minutes to write down a quick plan to bring more celebration to your productivity. Give it a try for a week and see what aspects you like and what could be improved. Remember this process shouldn’t be tedious, it should bring you joy and encourage you to improve by just 1% a day.
Now, it’s your turn to look at what you can do to make celebration a bigger part of your schedule. What should you have celebrated yesterday? Take a moment to celebrate this hard work right now. Take a walk, pour yourself a delicious cup of cold water and take a moment to remember how hard you worked. Whatever it takes to help you soak in these good feelings.