I think of Sundays as my last day of the week. I know, I know. It’s technically the first day of the week, but I use Sunday to reflect and plan for next week. It’s a great time to get centered and prepared for what I need to do between Monday and Friday.
I know I’m not alone. A lot of people have a day of the week that they use for planning. But I’ve noticed that something can happen on this day if we aren’t careful: confirmation bias.
Let me explain. Confirmation bias is a pretty common psychological trick we play on ourselves. We make up our minds that something is a certain way — I’m doing a great job! — and we look for data to back up this belief. Then, we tend to ignore any information that doesn’t support our bias.
This bias can undermine even the most talented entrepreneurs and companies. If we’re serious about growing our businesses in 2016, we need to challenge our biases about what we think is happening versus the reality of what is happening.
For instance, about a year ago, I got really caught up in checking things off my list. I loved my lists! But the lists and check marks were blinding me to a big problem: I was treating check marks as the goal. The more things I checked off the list, the more successful my day. Or so I thought.
Subconsciously (OK, sometimes totally consciously), I’d made lists of urgent or quick things I could do. They were things I needed to do, but they weren’t the important tasks that would make my business really amazing. I finally saw the problem on one of my reflection days and decided to challenge my bias.
Instead of focusing on quantity, I challenged myself to make quality the goal. I stopped making endless lists and set a new standard. Every day, I’d identify three big goals. These tasks were important things I’d promised to clients, or were on my list of business-building to-dos.
At first, I hated these short lists. And I was even more frustrated when I couldn’t check all three goals off my list and needed to carry them over into the next day. But during my weekly planning, I started to notice something: Things I’d put off or told myself I didn’t have time for were getting done. Big client projects were going better. And I’d stopped describing myself as “busy.”
For me, all of these things added up to something powerful: I was spending less time reacting and more time doing. All of this leads up to a challenge I have for you. My exact process may not make sense for you, but for one week, I encourage you to pick one thing, just one, that you want to get done every day. The catch? It needs to be something big.
To be clear, size isn’t the goal of “big.” In this situation, big equals important. Then, on your reflection/planning day, I want you to look back and see how that week compares to previous weeks. What happens when you make something big a priority every day?
I suspect you’ll discover what I did — that quality trumps quantity, and makes a big difference to you and your business.