Productivity Hack: Small Victories

Do you ever wake up late for work?

This happened to me the other day. And I mean late — it was 9:30 when I groggily reached for my clock to check the time.

I went through the usual woke-up-late routine. I took the world’s fastest shower, grabbed some clothes off my floor, brushed my teeth (most of them, anyway) and rushed out the door to catch the next bus.

Then, just as I was slipping on some running shoes that were about to be put to good use, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror… It wasn’t a huge deal, but I looked pretty dishevelled. I hadn’t shaved. In my rush, I’d forgotten to grab a belt, and the shirt I’d picked up off my floor was totally wrinkled. My hair was a disaster, but that’s hardly news.

Here’s where the day got interesting. The easy thing to do would be to keep going and catch that bus, and get to work as soon as possible. I didn’t look great, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I had a whole bus ride to rationalize and justify my less-than-stellar look.

Instead, I stopped. I took off my shoes, I cleaned myself up, I changed into a clean shirt.

Appreciate the small victories.

This took some effort. I was in no mood to waste time getting dressed again, and now I was going to be even more late because I’d have to wait for the next bus. But if I couldn’t even be bothered to wear a clean shirt, what would that say about the rest of my day?

Small victories like this one are important because they put you in a victory-mindset. Instead of feeling a bit off all day, I took the extra time to make sure that when I got to work, I was ready. Ready to succeed. Ready to give 110%.

You don’t go straight from zero to all-star performance. It’s the little victories that get the ball rolling. They prepare you to succeed. The next victory will be a little bigger, and so will the one after that. Your day will go nowhere but up, all you have to do is follow along!

And sometimes, when you’re in a rut, all it takes is one small victory to get you back up on your feet.

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2 Responses to “Productivity Hack: Small Victories”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I have had this happen a good dozen or so times in the last 2 1/2 years at my current job. We pride ourselves on being professional, so I assume if I’m to wear a shirt and tie, they would like me to be well groomed, even if that does mean another 15 minutes of tardiness.

    This year, I have not had this problem. I set a goal to wake up before dawn 360 days this year. So far, I’ve only missed one day due to food poisoning. This means I have plenty of time to make breakfast, pack a lunch, and make myself presentable. If I desire, it also means I can go to the gym in the morning and still arrive to work by 9 am.

  2. dan Says:

    “I set a goal to wake up before dawn 360 days this year. So far, I’ve only missed one day…”

    That’s so inspiring! I actually just started something very similar: I’m trying to wake up before sunrise every day this month. Thanks for letting me know that this is possible and that you’ve found it to be useful.

    I really hope I can keep it up. It’s going well so far, but it’s only been two days :)

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