Day 2

So far, so good.

I didn’t get a particularly good night of sleep, but I woke up and began working anyway.

After I finished a conference call with my team at 9am, I walked back into my bedroom (I work remotely from home) and sat on my bed for a moment. I didn’t feel like working.

But a funny thing happened to me.

Normally when I feel like this, I’ll procrastinate a bit to keep from doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll hop onto Facebook or check personal emails or read an interesting post from a blog. Whatever. Something to pass the “in between time.”

But I remembered the rules I set forth:

  1. If it doesn’t help me to achieve my goals, then I won’t do it. Point blank. Period.
  2. If  won’t definitely use that information for something important and immediate, then I won’t listen, read, or watch it.

Shit!” I literally said out loud. “I can’t get on Facebook.”

I was irritated with myself for creating this challenge and kinda huffed and puffed my way back into my office. I had to work. I had to do something productive towards my goals.

I didn’t realize it at that moment, but that immediate, compulsory reroute to productive activities changed my ENTIRE DAY!

Because I wasn’t able to procrastinate, I immediately started back completing my objectives for the day. Even though I didn’t feel like it.

John Maxwell, an authority on leadership and the New York Times bestselling author of Failing Forward, says “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.”

This means that you’re more likely to work yourself into the correct state of mind for performance and achievement by taking those first action steps rather than waiting for yourself to “feel like doing it.”

That’s often easier said than done. Especially when you’re not motivated to act. You need to development of the proper mindset over time and have the self-discipline to do so consistently.

That’s exactly what I did.

But I did it because I didn’t have any choice.

In a short time, I fell back into my normal routine, worked the remainder of the morning at a solid pace, and left to go workout at the gym during lunch.

I think I would’ve skipped my workout for the day had I not been forced to reroute my focus toward immediately productive activities in that moment.

I worked out this afternoon without playing music in my headphones like I’d normally do. (By the way, I’ve decided I’m not going to listen to music with lyrics during this challenge. If it’s being played in an establishment where I’m at, naturally, I won’t ask it to be turned off. But I won’t turn on any music with lyrics for myself. I just feel like it’ll make the challenge more pure.)

The gym was playing music but I did my best to focus on each workout I was performing and to be mindful of my body’s response, blocking out the music and any other distractions.

I had an intense workout today and reached a new max on both squat and bench press.

Another highlight from today was what I accomplished after working for the day.

After I finished working my day job, I decided to go Barnes & Noble to do some writing.

Although I go to Barnes & Noble almost every evening to work on my independent ventures, I don’t typically do so on Friday evenings. Friday evenings are usually reserved for relaxation to wind down from the week. I usually watch NBA basketball if it’s during the season.

But I couldn’t watch basketball, so what else was I going to do?

What happened over the next 6 1/2 hours from 4:30pm until 11:00pm is something I haven’t accomplished previously.

I sat down at a table in the cafe, poured myself a cup of water, and then wrote, edited, revised, and completed a final copy of the Day 1 post I published yesterday.

And I did this all in one sitting, only taking breaks to read and use the restroom.

The final word count for yesterday’s post is 2,079 words. That is after I cut out a quarter of the post. For comparison, the post I wrote for my dad called Happy Father’s Day: A Living Tribute (which was written in a similar fashion and had only 1,484 words) took me 3 days to complete.

That’s a significant reduction in time to completion.

And I did this after completing a full day of work for my regular job and without any caffeine or other stimulants.

I at least partially attribute this increased effectiveness to eliminating not only online distractions, like social media and random emails, but also in-person distractions like listening to the conversation of others around me or wasting time reading information that isn’t immediately useful and important.

I noticed my mental chatter was way down during this period and has continued to decrease since starting this challenge, which allows me to concentrate better as well.

The best part is that I was still very alert and clear-minded after I left Barnes & Noble. I certainly could’ve continued working, but instead I hung out with my family (my aunt Norma was in town along with my cousin Will).

After the movie they were watching ended, we sat in the living room talking and cracking jokes with each other.

At the end of the night, I went upstairs, meditated for 20 minutes, read and went to sleep.

I’m glad these rules are in place. It was a good, productive day.

Maybe I might be onto something with this challenge? 🙂

If you have any questions about the “30 Day Mind Your Own Business Challenge,” ask me in the comments and I’ll get right back to you! 

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Robert James Collier is the founder at Practical Idealist where he shares practical ideas to achieve worthy ideals.