STOP March Madness and Get Into a Productive Mood

Spring fever is here, and after this winter, we all deserve some fun. But business still needs to be done, no matter how much procrastinating we do. What should top CIOs do to prevent stagnation, stay positive and keep growing? Just like the morning routine, it’s not that complex. Here are 10 steps for CIOs to beat procrastination and stay positive.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Spring fever is here, and after this winter, we all deserve some fun. But business still needs to be done, no matter how much procrastinating we do.

Getting into gear starts the minute you wake up. To prepare for my day, I listen to Spanish guitar music and drink some green juice (trust me, it’s amazing!). Then, I think ahead to my schedule and ponder the various challenges and opportunities I foresee. I then picture myself successfully facing each upcoming activity, and quickly think what mood I need to be in to make that happen.

By creating a habit of reflection, visualization, and motivation each morning, my brain shifts to conscious awareness.  Everyone’s success triggers are different. Maybe you need to listen to your favorite morning show on the radio or do a quick stretch as you contemplate the day to come. No matter what you prefer, the important thing is to keep it consistent, positive and proactive.

In my role as Senior Vice President of Acolyst, a business performance consulting firm, I work with a lot of top level executives. Some are negative, some are grumpy and all of them are under pressure. After all, they have stakeholders and Wall Street to report to, with issues galore.  But then there are those that have their act together.

What should top CIOs do to prevent stagnation, stay positive and keep growing?  Just like the morning routine, it’s not that complex.

10 Steps CIOs Can Take to Beat Procrastination and Stay Positive

  1. Attitude - Get into a positive, grateful frame of mind. What gets you in the mood to show the day who is boss? It could be listening to classical music, Pharrell’s Happy or even Everything is Awesome from the Lego movie. Or maybe it’s reading those who inspire you, and internalizing daily quotes and affirmations. OWN your day!
  2. Compile the upcoming day’s activities (you might want to create the list the night before, like I do)
    1. Are there any adjustments you need / want to make?
    2. Do you have what you need to be successful and productive (Enough time? A meeting room? The right attendees?)
  3. Project preview – Reflect for 5 minutes on what you and your team accomplished yesterday.
  4. Vision - What are the top 3 things you want to accomplish today?
  5. Focus up – Reiterate to yourself that you will stay focused and productive throughout the day.
  6. Lessons learned – What distracted you the day before? How will you handle today differently?
  7. Write it down - Keep a notepad handy, or use your smartphone’s note capability. Take down ideas that pop up in your head, even if you feel like you won’t forget them. Trust me, we all have those “Oh shoot, what did I forget to remember?” moments.
  8. Ease tension and stress by using a form of exercise or meditation, etc. I like to dance.  Some prefer to exercise in the morning, afternoon or evening. If evening is best for you, integrate exercise that releases you from the day’s activity and forces you to be fully present, alert and aware.
  9. Transition – Drink hot tea or other beverage to slow down and signal to your brain that now is the time for calm and relaxation.
  10. Go to bed – Your mother was right. Nothing is more valuable than a good night’s sleep.

By making these steps a habit each day, you will find yourself cycling through them automatically and feel more fulfilled, motivated and dynamic. And, with all of the extra time you gain from stopping March Madness and increasing your productivity, you can go and watch March Madness on TV and not feel the least bit guilty.

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