I believe you are in control of your ultimate destiny, even though, at times, it may seem harder than before. However, just the fact that you are in control means you have the ability to manage, and create, situations that give you a mental high.
Suffering from bipolar has allowed me to really understand my train of thoughts, and I’m able to categorize them as either positive or negative. Today, I want to talk about something special that I suffered with for many years. We all have certain aspects of our lives that play a crucial role every day like relationships, work, health, self-fulfillment, etc., and it’s how we feel about them mentally that makes them either good or bad. For example, if I create a mind-frame that my relationship with my girlfriend is horrible, then that negative thought will haunt me until I can flip it upside down. I’ll admit that many times, it’s horrible and I have to work at it to make things right, but suffering from “bipolar” has caused me to view things negativity even when they are going well.
It’s this part that has caused me the MOST suffering from 1998 onwards. I was officially diagnosed with bipolar in 2000, however, way before that, I had to deal with conflicting thoughts, which affected several parts of my life.
Today, I’d like to talk about how I plan my day so it leads to nothing but a mental high. A mental high fills me with positive energy, motivation, and a drive to keep building success. This has done wonders for me especially because suffering from bipolar can swing your mood back and forth. However, with a clear cut daily plan, I’m able to stay focused and consistent throughout my day.
I learned this concept from a book I read by Anthony Robbins called Awaken The Giant Within. Personally, I never used to read too many books because I didn’t have the patience for them, however, living with bipolar can be tough with all these negative thoughts so I needed something I could turn to and that was readily available. I have a huge support group, however, sometimes, at 2AM, it can be tough to tap into them, but a book is right there near your bed side. I try and read 1 book each month, and listen to another 1 on Audible when I’m about to go to sleep. Anyway,
Anthony Robbins is a master at teaching people how to conquer emotions so they are MOST productive. He teaches people how to set limitations so you stay active and get what’s important done. Why is this so important?
Simple! When you achieve objectives, each one will serve as a mental high, which can completely transform your mood. It enlightens your day because you are not only making a difference in your life, but also in the life of those around you. I’ve adopted his philosophy for the last 4 years, and once I learned how to implement it into my life, it dramatically changed the quality of my life and mood. If I think about it, you’re essentially perfecting the art of prioritization, and isn’t that what’s life’s about? Isn’t it about getting the important things done so you change your life and start making a difference where it matters, i.e., family, work, yourself, society, etc.?
Before continuing, here is an awesome article on how high levels of work and accomplishment increase dopamine in your brain:
Here is a quick definition of dopamine:
“Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in many different functions including movement, motivation, reward — and addiction. Nearly all drugs of abuse directly or indirectly increase dopamine in the pleasure and motivation pathways and in so doing, alter the normal communication between neurons.”
Let’s get back on track…
I want to keep this strategy straight forward, so I will jump right into how I plan my days, and how this process actually starts on a Sunday of every week.
First, I’ve trained myself to take out 1 hour every Sunday to write out my game plan for the entire week. Why Sunday? This is obviously the beginning of the week, but it’s also family time or home time for many people. Unlike a Monday to Friday, you’re not working and unlike Saturday, you’re NOT out to dinner or with friends.
Sundays are low key and it’s a time you can relax and write out your plan for the rest of the week. So, here’s what I do…
Because I have my own business, I’ll create a list of the work I have to do. For example:
- Write content
- Upload videos
- Upload Images
- Install new template for website
- Link building
These are very broad but they provide a good idea of what I need to focus on.
From this point, I can continue to start narrowing down. For example:
- Write content for bipolar blog
- Write guest blogging content
- Invoice (client name)
- Install template for trucking website
Beside each one, I’ll give it a score from 1-10 with “1” being least important, and “10” being most important to keep my business flowing smoothly. You can even narrow the work even more, creating a TO-DO list that looks like:
- Write 500 words for bipolar blog
- Install template on trucking site (NOT Customize)
The MOST important thing is to add the day during the week once you’ve labelled it with a score from 1-10.
If writing content is very important, then I write something like: Monday – Write Content for Bipolar Blog 500 Words, or Invoice Clients on Monday so I’m paid for rest of week. The cool thing is as you write each one, you’ll already feel like you’re getting work done, and this automatically provides motivation. It’s a natural mood enhancer, giving you a feeling of forward motion like you’re getting things done that are important to you. Remember, you’ve labelled each one with a number so you know they are important to you as you go through your list.
Here’s a sample of what I put together for this week – January 11th, 2016 – January 16th, 2016:
Here’s what I have for the first 2 days of the week,
Monday – January 11th, 2016
Write Content for JohnChow.com (1800 Words) (10)
Write Bipolar Blog Content – Planning My Day (1500-1600 Words) (9)
Add Domain AllPaperPlanes.com to Hosting and Install WordPress (9)
Purchase Theme for AllPaperPlanes.com Website (9)
Edit JohnChow.com Content and Upload (9)
Tuesday – January 12th, 2016
Write Content for WebHostingHero.com X 2 (8)
Add YouTube Videos to AllPaperPlanes.com Site (7)
Write 500 Words for JohnChow.com Content (7)
Gather Keywords for CDLHazmat.com (next content) (7)
This is just a sample, but you are getting a good idea of how to create a TO-DO list you can easily follow. The key is to stick to this list, and DON’T steer off course because you’ll be all over the place, which destroys the objective of such a practice.
The MOST important element,
Once I have completed each tasks on my list, I’ll check it off because this serves as my ultimate motivation. I love the fact I have completed my daily tasks because it makes me feel like I’m getting closer to my end goal. I use to make the mistake of creating lengthy TO-DO list based on a year goal or even monthly, however, it’s important to me that I have the gratifying feeling of completion every day. It might be different for all of you, but for me, to know I have done work that will benefit my business every day is very important, and provides the motivation I need.
Here are a few important things I like to keep in mind when designing my ultimate TO-DO list.
- Don’t set unrealistic goals for each day because completing a lot of work per day is hard, and the likelihood of you doing that is very rare. This means for each uncompleted task, you’ll feel bad you didn’t finish what you were supposed to do. I remember when I started to implement this goal setting strategy, I would add 10 daily tasks, and this was totally unrealistic. The scoring system helped me focus on the MOST important ones early in the week, and the less important on the other days.
- I have a mobile smartphone so I use handy applications to help me stay organized. These work well for me because they are easy to use, and give me an alert when something is due. The interface on some of them are cool, allowing me to customize them the way I want, i.e., colors, format, etc.
- Focus on the time-sensitive work that has to be completed first because this usually is the MOST important. If I didn’t get this work done in time, then I noticed it would affect my entire work week because I already “failed” at things that were important.
I’m not sure what smartphones you guys are using, but I’m using Apple 4S so head to their iTunes to store find popular TO-DO applications.
Here are some that I have used in the past:
Create your to-do lists, share them to collaborate with others, and set up your reminders easily with Wunderlist
There are task priorities with subtasks and even sub-projects. Reminders, recurring tasks, Apple Watch dictation, and integration with services such as Google Drive, Sunrise Calendar, and IFTTT make Todoist a real winner.
It offers drag-and-drop, swipe to complete, voice entry, and you can just shake your device to clear finished tasks. You can set up recurring items, attach files and photos, collaborate with others, and use Any.do Moment for your daily planner.
If you head over to Google.com, and type in your mobile phone + todo apps, you’ll find a list of popular applications compatible with your mobile device.
Wrapping It Up…
Bipolar is a definite challenge I have faced for over 15 years, and during that time, I have found creative ways to keep me motivated. More importantly, being able to stay focused and finish what’s important to me is a great mood elevator. Knowing I’m able to finish work and grow my business shows I can accomplish even though I’m living with bipolar. We often have a mentality that bipolar will be a barrier in us succeeding, but it won’t as long as you know how to manage what’s important to you.
With accurate management, you can motivate yourself to make other changes that help keep you positive.