Stop ‘catastrophizing’ and start prioritizing.

 

Now that 2016 is coming to an end, I want to make sure you`ll start the new year on the right note. All of those ideas, projects, and new journeys that you’ve been putting off can get done no matter how busy you think you are. It will just take some little changes to your daily schedule.

 

 

Here are seven noteworthy tips you can fuse in your day starting right now:

 

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1. Do this imaginary ‘end of year’ exercise

 

Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It, has a mental practice to help you get more done in less time. First, imagine that it’s the end of 2017, and you have successfully accomplished your professional goals. “What three to five things did you do that made it so incredible?” she asks.

 

Do the same thing with your personal life, highlighting key events that you would share with your family and friends. Now you have a list of your personal and professional goals for the new year. She says the following stride is to separate them into small, reasonable steps that you can tackle each week.

 

 

2. Start your day two hours earlier

 

As extraordinary as it feels to hit the snooze button time and time again, this practice might be killing your mornings. Matt Mayberry, a former NFL linebacker and performance strategist, says you should set your alarm for at least two hours before you have to be at work. “You have daily commitments and adequately preparing for them first thing will help set the tone and state of mind of the day,” he says.

 

 

3. Keep your email replies short and sweet

 

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No one likes to send long, convoluted emails, and no one likes to receive long, convoluted emails either. So do yourself and the person you are emailing a favor by keeping your responses short and to the point. There should be no more than two sentences. “If ever a message necessitates a longer response, I’d rather have a discussion face to face or on the phone.

 

 

4. Be strategic when booking meetings

 

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In case you are going to visit a different city for a business meeting, use your time as wisely as possible. Take the opportunity to meet with potential new clients and make more business contacts.

 

Pick a location, and schedule meetings back-to-back to make it beneficial. “Your time is valuable,” says Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec. “Be strategic about what you need to achieve and how to maximize your driving time.”

 

 

5. Organize your thoughts in a single email

 

Sometimes just one clear email can be more effective than a bunch of ineffective meetings. Each week, Airbnb’s VP of product Joe Zadeh sends an email to his team outlining the projects he’s focused on at work and what’s  motivating him outside of work. “It not only forces me to prioritize my week, but the act of writing helps clearing my thoughts,” he says.

 

 

6. Do this quick trick to shrink your anxiety

 

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When you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, here’s a strategy that can almost immediately shrink your nervousness. Maggie Johnson, a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow, says we experience anxiety when our body’s autonomic stress system kicks in to protect us from threat or harm.

 

This reaction doesn’t only kick in during matters of life or death, but also in situations such as an investor meeting. Johnson says “catastrophizing,” is the mind’s natural tendency to see a circumstance as far more terrible than it truly seems to be.

 

To begin with, she tells her clients to imagine the worst-case scenario. Then, she asks them to objectively look at how bad the situation would be if this worst-case scenario happened. Next time you’re stressed, ask yourself over and over, “What’s the worst that can happen?” until you understand the root of your anxiety. Much of it is misplaced or exaggerated, she says.

 

 

7. Stop reading and start doing

 

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How much time did you spend reading this article? Adam Grant thinks you could’ve used your time to practice a new skill instead. “Work on increasing your typing speed — or invest in voice recognition software.

 

And then stop wasting time reading productivity tips,” says Grant, a professor of Psychology at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.