“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What do you do every single day? What tasks, throughout your life, seem to command more frequency? If you are like most of the ‘electronic people’ of this modern world, you probably check your email multiple times daily. According to one survey, office workers spend about 2.5 hours per day reading and answering emails. How much of this time is productive? Not surprisingly, some companies have adopted policies to reduce, or eliminate, excessive time spent on the Internet.
Emails are certainly a good example of when frequency can be counter to our current and future success. What might our lives be like if we simply reduced email time and invested it in something more productive? What about a 30-minute exercise routine? Or . . . making that personal phone call we have delayed for months?!
Excessive Internet time, according to pertinent studies, can have a negative effect in the loss of productivity. But, I believe frequency can be one of the most powerful success tools that is available to everyone.
How do I use it? As a writer, publishing a weekly newsletter, my goal is producing a product, every seven days, on a regular basis. I can choose to write the copy for the newsletter on Sunday afternoon for publication early Monday morning. I have done that a few times – it is not my favorite way of writing.
I can also choose a more frequent path by concentrating writing time a few times a week on one single article. This is a much better process, with better results on several levels, compared to dedicating one afternoon for the entire effort. Conventional wisdom suggesting working just one day on writing as more efficient turns out not to be true – at least not for me.
As efficient and effective as a three-day cycle turns out to be, I have found a process that is even better: As a writer, I need to write every single day – a minimum of at least six days each week. I have found that writing on a frequent basis improves all areas of my literary effort. I am way more efficient with my time.
The important element of frequency in writing is not a new concept. Historically, of paramount importance for all of the best authors, was the daily routine of getting thoughts written. These writers had a system. For some, the goal focused on writing a certain amount of words – 500 or 1,000 per day. For others, it was a commitment of time. Regardless of individual structure, the main element was frequency. They were dedicated to daily, or almost daily, conformity. And all agreed that this daily occurrence of writing resulted in them improving their craft. Some of the most famous authors would tell you that without a daily effort, their success would have never happened.
I can confirm that this works for me, too. But, this mindset is not limited to writing. I have discovered that developing a daily or weekly frequency in important activities generates much success in other areas. Physical exercise is a good example. My current regimen is exercising five – six days every week. The result of this has been life-changing, which I wrote about in the recent newsletter edition, Postponement. I chronicled my exercise effort until the doctor took me off blood pressure medicine. I credit that clinically atypical accomplishment to the frequency in my exercise routine. I accomplished a goal rarely achieved by others in my situation because I simply made a daily commitment in the important effort of improving my health to the point of not needing life-sustaining medication.
Here are some enriching, positive impact elements of frequency in my routine:
- Morning prayer
- Telling the special people in my life that I love them
- Sending hand-written notes to people I love
- Reading inspirational books
- Regular relaxation – usually spent fishing in my favorite spots
There are other areas, but the one common factor is that I practice doing these things frequently. I am committed to the frequency I have chosen. These are permanent compartments of my life. The results have been very powerful – truly life-changing for me.
One definition of success is in repeatedly doing what works. Find the ‘song you can play well’ and keep playing that song again and again . . . be committed to the routine. Make it part of your schedule. Put it in your calendar. Make it a consistent and permanent life-long habit.
What are you good at doing . . . something you know makes a difference in your life? Have you committed to this effort with any frequency?
What is your strongest, most productive talent that is not on your scheduling list? Is there anything you are good at doing that can make a huge difference, but that you are currently just performing in a casual, non-committal basis? Are your best efforts ever lost because you ‘do not have the time’? When will you?
Is it time to look at your frequency calendar?