Productivity Tips #15: Focus On That Which Matters Most
I think I’ve realized why it’s so easy to succumb to the whole getting things done, do stuff for the sake of it attitude. We all want to achieve Big Things in life. We want to feel like it’s all worth it and that at the end of the day we’ve achieved something with our time. But what happens if you don’t have that in your life? Rather than looking for that sense of achievement through quality, we try and achieve it through quantity – replacing a handful of big achievement with lots of small, often irrelevant things.
This doing things for the sake of it mentality is a big disease when it comes to productivity both in your personal life and in the business world in general. It might have worked in the Industrial Age when it came to machines and how much they could produce each hour. It may even have had some credence for people cranking out widgets on the factory floor. But it’s not so good when applied to humans in the Information and Creative age.
When it comes to machines the one thing you can measure about them is their output. They will happily create regardless. But humans can do more, so much more. We can have dreams and goals and aspirations and they can override anything else that we may have to do in our lives. If you’re focusing on achieving that big dream of yours each day, something like the dishes piling up in the sink, or the mail piling up in your letter tray don’t carry the same significance.
Productivity isn’t about doing as much as possible or being always busy. It’s not about filling up all your time or getting things done ad infinitum. It’s about doing the right things in the most efficient way possible so you’re less stressed and have more free time to play with. However without those right things in place – those few goals, dreams and aspirations – it’s all so easy to slip into the busyness mindset.
My current goal is to write a book. As long as I write a couple of pages a day I’m happy with whatever else I get done. What are your goals, and more importantly, are you focusing on them?
Productivity Tips: 10 Clever Ideas For Getting Things Done is an updated and expanded collection of the first ten posts in my popular productivity tips series and is now available to all for free.