The DAB – Making Each Day Count
As I sat through the New Year celebrations, and thought about the new year resolutions I would make, and what friends, clients and patients have shared with me, it occurred to me that while we think about lofty goals and dreams, we seldom think about the building blocks leading there – the little things we do on a day-by-day basis.
To become successful in Life, you need to make Life count. Each and every day. It’s easy to simply put off to another day what you could do today because you think the year ahead is long and you have plenty of time.
Yet how many times have we looked back at the preceding year and regretted our unaccomplished resolutions, and wonder what happened? Where did that time go? How did each day pass me by like water through a sieve?
Let me introduce a simple tool to prevent that happening – the DAB.
You have doubtless heard that age-old advice: Live each day like it’s the last.
Well, the DAB is one tool that can help you do just that.
The Daily Accountability Book is simply a book you write into daily. This is the key: DAILY. You make it a ritual, and you have to write in it as soon as you are able. Even if it’s the last thing you do, make a real effort to write in it before you drop off to bed.
At it’s most basic, you have two columns.
Worthwhile Activity Wasted Activity
Under worthwhile activity you list down everything you did that added to your Life goals. You also bracket the area of your Life it contributed to.
Chatted with Dad over the phone (Relationships)
Worked on client presentation (Work)
Analysed portfolio (finances)
Under wasted activity, you list down anything you did that did not add to your Life at all.
Got distracted while researching paper by surfing Youtube (45min)
Fell asleep on couch while reading (35min)
Entertained MLM salesperson on phone instead of ending the conversation firmly (5min)
You don’t have to write details; that’s for your diary if you keep one. This is simply a list of items in the fewest possible words which tells you where day went, and sufficient to give you a post-mortem on the day and how you could improve..
The Big Idea Behind the DAB
What’s the purpose of this?
You know how people eat a little more here, skip a little exercise there, one day here, three days there, and at the end of the year they’re suddenly up 5kg?
Just as all your little sins add up in terms of weight gain, so too do other ills such as sloth, lack of motivation, distraction on purposeless activity, vegging and stoning in front of the TV. While you don’t feel it on the day itself, these little lost moments add up to hurt you in a big way at the end of the year when you realize you didn’t accomplish many of the things you set out to do, and scratch your head wondering where the year went.Having the DAB shows you both where your energy and time leaks are, so you can plug them when you spot them.
At the same time, achieving your major goals often won’t be the result of one or two major breakthroughs, but an accumulation of many steps taken to your destination. Sometimes, you might not have a lot of time on your hands. Maybe 30min, maybe 15min, maybe even 5min. But if you spend that time doing something that in some way adds to your Life goals, at the end of the year you’ll see it really adds up. You’ll be a different person because of what you’ve done, what you’ve read, what you’ve learnt.
Having the DAB is also a testament to the little steps you took to get there, and on a day to day basis shows you whether you’re moving forward or not.
This is a really powerful tool, provided you write in it and review it every single day. This is a tool for tracking progress and for making you accountable. Remember, you’re either progressing towards your goals, or falling away from them. Review the DAB daily to see which way you’re headed, and to change course immediately by making sure the very next day isn’t a wasted one.
What if Today Was the Last Day of Your Life?
What if today was the last day of your Life? What would you do differently? What would you stop doing? Who would you connect with? Who would you stop talking to? Anything left undone?
Are you ready to finally make every single day count to achieve your goals?
The DAB is a simple yet exacting tool that can help you do just that. Don’t let the sun go down on your day and ultimately, your Life, because you didn’t hold yourself accountable for how you spent it.