How do you achieve employment security in a world where there is no employment security? I start with a question: do you consider yourself to be honest and at least reasonably intelligent? Okay. As an honest, intelligent person, do you, as a general rule, get about twice as much work done on the day before you go on vacation as you normally get done? Now, I am going to ask you a long question, so stay with me all the way through. If we can figure out why and learn how and repeat it every day without working any longer or any harder, does it make sense that we will be more valuable to ourselves, our company, our family, and our community? The answer is yes.

I want to make it crystal clear that I am communicating with you about you—I’m not referring to anybody else, but to you about you. You have undoubtedly already confessed that you are honest and intelligent.

Now, on the night before the day before vacation, do you get your laptop or a sheet of paper out and plan, “Now, tomorrow I’ve got to do this and this . . . .” We’ve coined a very clever name for that—we call that goal setting. So, you set your goals. Then, you get them organized in the order of their importance.

Let me encourage you to make one slight change there. Get the disagreeable and difficult things out of the way first. Free your mind so you can concentrate on what else you have got to do. You get it organized. You accept responsibility. You make the commitments. You know that some people are about as committed as a Kamikaze pilot on his 39th mission—they just aren’t serious about it.

Now, commitment is important whether it is to get your education, make one more call, keep the marriage together, or whatever. Commitment is important because when you hit the wall—not if, but when you hit the wall—if you have made a commitment, your first thought is “How do I solve the problem?” If you haven’t made the commitment, your first thought is “How do I get out of this deal?” And we find literally what we are looking for. When you make that commitment, things happen. It shows that you really care about the other people on the job. It demonstrates that you are dependable. Even though you’re leaving town, you’re not going to leave an unfinished task for others to do. Your integrity comes through.

Have you ever participated in organized team sports? Did you ever go home one night and say to your parents something like, “Mom, Dad, you won’t believe the game plan the coach has worked out. Man alive, it is incredible. We’re going to kill those suckers tomorrow. You can count on it.” You were optimistic simply because you had a plan of action, and likewise, you are optimistic that tomorrow you are going to be able to get all of the things done that need to be done before you can go on that vacation.

Now, some of us are born optimistic, and some are born pessimistic. For your information, the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary does not have the word pessimist in it. It has the word optimist. Now, I am a natural-born optimist. I really am. I would take my last two dollars and buy a money belt with it. That’s the way I’m put together. But the good news is if you are a natural-born pessimist, you definitely, emphatically, positively can change. You are a pessimist by choice because you are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind. You can change what you are; you can change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.

Anyway, on the day before you go on vacation you not only get to work on time, you are a little early, and you immediately get started. You don’t stand around and say, “Well, I wonder what I ought to do now.” You can’t wait to get after it. You want to do the right thing, so you get started in a big hurry. You are enthusiastic about it. You are highly motivated. You decisively move from one task to another.

Now, I am going to camp on this one for just a moment. Have you noticed that as a general rule, people who have nothing to do want to do it with you? It’s true, isn’t it? Now, on this day before vacation, when you finish one task, you move with purpose to another one. And people just will not block you for that two-minute gossip session or four-minute or five-minute or six-minute chat. I am absolutely convinced and have no doubt about it that the listener has more to do with gossiping than the speaker does because if you don’t listen, nobody is going to gossip to you. They just won’t.

When you move with purpose, people will step aside and let you go. I will absolutely guarantee that you will save a minimum of an hour a day in two-, three-, five-minute spurts of time. An hour a day is five hours per week is 250 hours per year. That is six weeks of your life that you’ve wasted and six weeks of combined time that you have wasted with people who have been gossiping with you. What could you do with six extra weeks every year?

Focus on the issue at hand. Discipline yourself to stay with it until you finish. Cybil Stanton gave me the best definition of discipline I have ever read in her book The Twenty Five Hour Woman: “Discipline isn’t on your back needling you with imperatives. It is at your side encouraging you with incentives.”

Treat every day like it’s the day before vacation, and you will get more work done!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Zig Ziglar has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Dallas Morning News as well as in Fortune, Success, and Esquire magazines and has appeared on “The Today Show,” “20/20,” “60 Minutes,” and “The Phil Donahue Show.” He has that rare ability to make audiences comfortable and relaxed, yet completely attentive. As an author, he has written 24 books on Personal Development, leadership, sales, faith, family, and success. Nine titles have become best sellers, including Over the Top and See You at the Top. Subscribe to the free, weekly “Zig Ziglar Newsletter” at