One of the key characteristics that separate mediocrity from excellence is consistency. Not very glamorous I know, but it is absolutely 100% true.
Being consistent in purposeful actions is so critical, and yet can be so very challenging for creative, dynamic women who have lots of ideas and stuff that they want to accomplish. I know it has certainly been a challenge for me at different times both personally and professionally.
Many times consistency gets confused with routine, which sounds boring and totally uninspiring. Blah! Nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. Consistency simply means taking the actions that bring you closer to your desired goals.
And…that leads us to where most of us get tripped up: we set ourselves up to fail in two ways:
How many times have you said, “Well I did really great this week, but next week I’ll probably mess up.”
“I did ok this time, but I probably won’t be able to keep with it.”
And you know what…that is not your fault. Your experiences, personality, thoughts, beliefs, and the cumulative mix that makes you YOU have all conspired to self sabotage you; but the good news is that you can change it.
The fact is that when you start thinking of yourself differently…you start to do things differently.
The other main reason we trip up is that we don’t give it enough time to work. In this ‘Age of Instant’ if we don’t get immediate results…we think it doesn’t work.
OK…that’s enough of what I call ‘practical woowoo’ 😉 Here are some have-in-your-hand tips to help you with consistency.
- Batch stuff- Group items together (do your writing tasks at once, group your phone calls together, handle your email and correspondence at one time, etc.)
- Keep a time log (No you don’t have to do this forever; a few days will do). You’ll be amazed at where your time is going and how you’re spending it. Track ALL of your activities: what you do, how long it takes you and so on). Look for gaps in your scheduling…and speaking of scheduling;
- Make a schedule. I know, I know it seems to fly in the face of being a creative, dynamic entrepreneur, but you need a plan. Planning out your activities will provide you with a structure to achieve consistency.
- Chunk it. If you have tasks you tend to put off, make a commitment of 10-15 minutes to devote your attention to it…that is certainly doable (set a timer if need be).
- Self awareness. You have to become aware of your behavior if you wish to change it. I call this putting your Success Blinders on.
What do you think? Any consistency tips to share?
Paul Tran says
Oh my – the necessary ingredient to get from aspiration to execution. Consistency!
I love the ideas about batching things together so that you can leverage momentum; I’ve heard great things about http://www.toggl.com as a tool to help you assess where all your time goes (at least online); and you’re right – you definitely need to schedule your aspirations in, or it doesn’t exist – awareness, consciousness, and constant reminders will do it !
I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss and “The 4-Hour Work Week” and in 1 of his books, a cool tool to help you form the right habits is http://www.habitforge.com – which sends you an email reminder every day for 21 days to steadily kick your butt towards your goal!
Thanks for such a good reminder of how simple it is to be consistent so that goals can be achieved. It doesn’t have to be so hard, difficult, and “against the flow” like so many assume/believe!
Exactly Paul!! the ‘bridge’ from aspiring to do something and actually executing it can seem like an abyss at times. It’s putting one foot in front of the other and continually stepping forward that allows us to see results.
Batching is one of my favorite productivity tips ever! So simple, but it’s surprising when people don’t see patterns in their actions and how they can be more productive and consistent:-)
Thank you for stopping and posting some thought provoking insight!
J Steele says
Not a new tip but a slant on your last one – self awareness. This is kinda scary but: Pay attention to your self talk. What if our thoughts and the way we talked to ourself was broadcast in a little cartoon bubble for everyone to read? yikes! It could be scary/embarrassing/depressing/chaotic/demented/etc but it could also be truth, positive, encouraging, beautiful, disciplined, etc. Our choice. and the results will show…
Great reminder Danielle!
It’s so funny that you mention this J! I am doing some upcoming posts on self-awareness and strategies to bring yourself back to the present moment in order to be more self aware:-)
Thank you for pointing out such an important tip!
Gina Parris says
Oh I bookmarked this page Danielle. Great post. As to scheduling, and creativity, I love the way Gary Ryan Blair calls it “scripting” as in scripting a beautifully creative play, or music score. As we live it out, it is still full of creativity just minus the depression of not getting done!
And the self-image thing – rock on!!
“The fact is that when you start thinking of yourself differently…you start to do things differently.” – I love this.
Thank you Gina:-)
Yes, I like Gary Ryan Blair too! With my background in special education and the emphasis placed on writing real and actionable goals, it is a subject very close to my heart:-)
Thank you for your insight as well!
Rochelle Veturis says
Ooh, I really liked this post Danielle. Your way of laying bare the “problem” and providing doable, actionable steps is both poignant and empowering. And you’re completely right. Consistency, while not glamorous, will put us in that 5% (whereas, most people will never break outside their comfort zone … or use their life to make an impact … aka, the other 95%).
I love the percentages:-) I think we assume that everyone does it, when in reality most people don’t. So critical to surround yourself with the doers and be part of that 5% 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
John Lusher says
Wow Danielle, I really like this post!! You hit the nails on the head with each point! As someone that has to live by his schedule, or multiple calendars 🙂 the tip of making a schedule is one that I fully support! I have to schedule everything, including responding to emails and blog posts! Being consistent may not be sexy, but it leads to incredible results!
Thank you for this post, very useful and to the point!
I love that you shared about your schedule and calendars. Being consistent is such a huge challenge for entrepreneurs, I could devote a whole month to it! Seems like a paradox, but having a schedule actually allows for more flexibility!
Thanks for posting:-)