My all-time favorite motivational recording is Zig Ziglar’s How To Get What You Want. I bought this cassette from an Office Depot in the early 1990s after a friend of mine turned me on to Ziglar.
I typically listen to the recording on long drives, or when working on a long task like doing dishes, laundry, or mopping, and it’s always a mood lifter.
Shortly after Ziglar’s introduction, he tells the live audience that we’re going to play a game. He suggests you receive a phone call from a close friend, who is inviting you to an all-expense paid trip to Acapulco Mexico. The only caveat is you have to leave tomorrow. Ziglar continues:
Just for a moment, let’s continue the game by saying: you got the telephone call. You accept it. Then all of a sudden it dawns on you: “Hey, I’ve got some things to do. As a matter of fact, I’ve got to do this and this and this and this and this. And as a matter of fact, you turn to your wife and say honey, I just don’t know whether or not we can make it or not. She says, now hold that phone John. She whips out a sheet of paper. She says now what’s the first thing we got to do. What’s the second thing? What’s the third thing? What’s the fourth thing? What’s the fifth thing? How many of you honest-to-goodness believe that during the next 24 hours you could get more done than you normally get accomplished in three four, five, six days?
If you look at everything with a sense of urgency and plan accordingly you’ll find yourself getting more done, and spending less time on time wasters.
I write this on a Friday night. I already have my standard to-do list for the weekend plus a few extra items. My tasks include:
- Kitchen clean-up & dishes
- Pay bills and do banking
- Plan week’s menu
- Grocery shop
- Do laundry while watching an episode of Columbo
- Buy a dust mop and a vacuum
- Dust mop the entire house, vacuum the carpeted rooms
- Check on the status of deliveries and update my calendar accordingly
- Trim bushes and rake up the debris
I’ll likely wake up at 6:00 am, and by 10:00 am my list will be complete leaving me with about 12 hours left on Saturday to do whatever miscellaneous tasks that I think of tomorrow that I’d still want to do.
Making the list not only ensures I don’t miss anything but also prevents the anxiety of imagining there is a lot to do. When you list it and start crossing tasks off one by one, it makes things a heck of a lot easier. I’ll close this out with sharing what Ziglar says immediately after the section above:
Here’s my question please: Why don’t you go to Acapulco tomorrow? Every day of your life: Why don’t you in your own mind say tomorrow I go to Acapulco if I get this done today? Do you realize that if you were to do that and schedule it and lay it out that it would be just a matter of weeks before you could in fact go to Acapulco at any time that you wanted to, or anywhere else you wanted to go.