Visualisation techniques help elite athletes perform better, and we can do the same thing to improve our workdays.
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Oliver Staley explains on Quartz:
If we run through events — be they important meetings and job interviews or even mundane tasks — in our head before we take them on, we’re better prepared and more able to react to the unexpected, according to Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, in his new book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.
“Your brain has to decide what deserves attention and what deserves to be ignored, and way it does it is compare what we expect is going to happen to what’s actually going on,” Duhigg told Quartz.
This is a technique basketball coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers have used to help their players win championships, but, again, you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from visualising your day. You might try this when you get up in the morning or prepare for sleep in the evening. Imagine what your day will look like after you’ve achieved your major goals for the day.
Your day might not necessarily go as imagined or planned, but you’ll be more likely to be focused on what matters most to you during the day. I’ve found that this technique also works for long-term planning: Visualise what you want to achieve in the next year or in the next five years and how you’ll get there. You might be surprised by how effective this small practice can be.