Try this quick “Ten A’s” exercise for focus, energy, action, results

On a whim one recent Monday morning, I brainstormed a list of words to inspire and challenge myself as I tried to get the day and week off to a great start.

It was an accolade and aggravation-filled list, as you’ll see, below. It helped me prioritize and refine my plans…and amused me, too…all in the space of about 3 minutes.

See if this brief exercise works for you, too. If the words I chose don’t work for you, replace them your own.

Here are a few guidelines to make this exercise work best:

– Keep the list short.

It’s a rapid-cycle brainstorming exercise to get yourself warmed up for the day or week.

– Use words that you react to, either positively or negatively.

Success is made up of the ability to respond well to positive and negative situations. You’ll be better prepared or more adaptable if you consider both types of circumstances, right from the start.

– Fill out the list quickly.

You may be surprised at what you learn in this rapid-cycle check-in with yourself. That surprising information may be the spark of energy, or the note of caution that makes all the difference in how you focus and invest your day or week, and the results you produce.

These were the words and questions that I used. Use these, or create your own list, if you like the idea of this exercise, but know that other words and questions will work better for you:

1. Admiration

What can I do to earn my own admiration today? This week?

2. Aspiration

What do I aspire to do, be, or achieve today? This week?

3. Accomplishments

Do I have any accomplishments that I’ve overlooked, or taken for granted so far?

4. Accolades

Are there accolades I should be giving myself for great work done recently…even if the work is not yet complete? What’s an appropriate way to recognize or celebrate them?

5. Action

Are the actions I planned for today still the right actions for moving ahead, given what’s most important right now? What are the 1-3 most important things I must get done, if nothing else?

6. Angst

Are there things I’m worrying about? What can I do to make the situation better?

7. Acceptance

Are there things I need to accept but which I have not actively accepted yet? (Acceptance is a far more active state than many people think of it as being. It’s far from passively giving up).

8. Admonitions

Are there warnings I need to pay attention to, or information I need to get? Are there assumptions I’ve made, but had better double-check?

9. Aggravations

Are there problems that I need to clear away in some way, such as through a process improvement? Is there a task that I need to delegate?

10. Avoidance

Are there things I’m avoiding that I really need to attend to? Is there important information that I’m trying to ignore?