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By Scott Keppel

Just like a fitness training program, planning and a committed focus are key to achieving your personal success.

In today’s fitness world (or the world of social media), you can’t go anywhere without hearing something along the lines of “Own the day, own your life,” “Mindfulness matters,” “Control the morning, control the day,” and so on. You may be thinking, “Sounds great, but how do I own my day, control my morning and stay mindful when I’m getting pulled in so many directions?” Maybe you feel you have most if “it” under control, but there are some areas you’d like to improve. The goal here is to share some takeaways that can be used daily for the rest of your life.

Start and end your day with gratitude.

I call this a gratitude sandwich. Each morning and evening while brushing my teeth I go through as many items as I can that I am grateful for. Some of my regulars are: My wife, my children, the fact I own my own personal training business, my faith, etc.

The why. When you’re in a state of gratitude your mind really can’t be in a state of negativity. What better way to start and end your day? You can’t control everything that’s going to happen, but you can control how you start it and end it.

Block and shelf your tasks.

Darren Hardy (a success mentor I enjoy listening to) suggests you look at a task, schedule the time to get whatever you can done (the block) and once that time is up or the task is completed put it off to the side (on the shelf) and focus on your next task.

The why. Often times, we go back and forth from task to task, which normally leads to nothing getting done. When we set a specific time to work on a specific task and then we move to the next, we assure each task gets the full attention it deserves.

Start your day off with a plan. What is your action plan for today? One of the scariest things for myself as well as for many is looking at a blank schedule. Now this may be great on the weekend or on vacation when you want to relax, but not when you’re in work mode. People that go into their day without a clear schedule tend to fill it with nonsense and are not productive. I’m not saying you have to be busy every minute, but if you know you want a break to watch TV, take a nap, read, or whatever it may be, schedule that time and use the block and shelf concept. Do whatever task you’re supposed to at that time and then go to the next one.

The why. Having your schedule written out before the start of the day (I write out my daily schedules on Sunday) will assure you get those items done that are important to you.

Get it over with!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you rush through anything, but if you have a task you are dreading, one that is critical and/or one that requires your full mental capacity, scheduling it earlier rather than later in the day will give you the best chance to get it done, and get it done correctly.

The why. As we are forced to make decisions throughout the day we get tired of making them and are more apt to pick whatever we think is easiest (not necessarily best) at that time. I don’t feel it has to be the first thing you do. I actually feel you should get some small wins in, like answering a few emails, making a couple calls, etc., before tackling your most important task. These small accomplishments can build confidence and help you to take on the bigger challenges.

These four strategies are some of the ones I personally implement on a daily basis and encourage my clients, my team and my family to use as well. If they seem overwhelming, I suggest you choose one and stick with it for a couple of weeks. Make it a habit, then choose another to add. If you’re already doing these, great! I challenge you to get others to do so as well. Getting others on board will help you stay accountable and it feels great helping others!