Being deliberate with our decisions and actions is essential to accomplishing any of our goals. Unless of course, you’re content waking up every morning and saying, “Well, I guess we’ll see how it goes today.”
I hope that’s not the case.
We do have a tendency though to leave ourselves open to the whims of others. We lack deliberateness around how we spend our time, what we want to accomplish, and the actions we need to take to get there.
“Consciously and Intentionally”
That is the basic definition of deliberate. The success we are seeking requires us to look for the opportunity to make decisions that are conscious and intentional, in alignment with our mission and our goals.
What’s the alternative, after all?
You and I know exactly what the alternative is. At some point, you’ve started your day with uncertainty. You work on whatever gets put on your plate based on the emails that come in, a phone call, or a random selection from the two dozen post-it notes on your desk.
This isn’t conscious and intentional, it is mindless and reactionary.
It’s Not Easy
Deliberateness takes a bit more effort.
Setting an intention for our actions and making decisions consciously requires preparation; not just in the form of getting everything you need ready, although that’s a big part. It requires preparing your mind long before you have to act.
For example, when you are trying to be more focused, it helps to understand the forces working against you. A simple first step is to make note of the things that distract you during the day.
Most of the distractions in our life are caused by in the moment decisions we shouldn’t be faced with anyway. We subject ourselves to decisions which undermine our goals.
Another step in acting deliberately is to find ways to remove ‘in the moment’ decisions.
Do I eat a banana or a bowl of ice cream? It’s easier to choose the banana if the ice cream isn’t there.
Do I open Facebook or write a blog post? It’s easier to write if you set some rules about how you want to use your time. There’s also some software that can help keep you off Facebook entirely.
Do I go for a run or keep working at my desk? Scheduling in the time you will run and having everything you need ready to go can help make that decision easier.
Do I make ten sales calls today or check my inbox to see if anyone sent me something important? Having names and numbers ready and the time to call helps. Also, establish a rule to only check your email when you need something, not when you’re looking for something to do. (Tweet that)
Prepare to be Deliberate
Someone who goes to the gym each day to train seems as though they have this tremendous power to make the right decision in the moment.
The truth is, they didn’t decide to do this five minutes before. No, the decision to go to the gym was made the night before, or the week before, or the month before. They already knew it was a gym day. Their clothes were ready. The workout was selected.
So, the deliberate action of going to the gym simply became a matter of completing the decision that was already made, showing up to the predetermined location at the set time.
If you’re attempting to make your best decisions at the moment, the odds aren’t with you or anyone for that matter.
The real trick is to determine ahead of time what matters to us, what matters to our business, and how we should be spending our time.
When we prepare and decide ahead of time where we want to direct our attention and energy, acting consciously and intentionally in the moment is a much easier choice.