Photo Credit: ckaiserca
Many of us while at work will look for meaningless busy work just to help us get through the day. If we can stay active the time might fly by faster. I will often read emails sent to my inbox that are absolutely meaningless to my position just to look like I am staying busy. Staying busy however is not necessarily being productive. Take a look at your routine tomorrow: How much of what you are doing is actually working towards goals that you have set for yourself? Are you making progress towards anything, or are you just staying busy and collecting a paycheck? Lifestyle design expert Tim Ferriss suggests when you get stuck in an active rut to make two lists:
- Define a very short "To Do" list
- Define a "Not To Do" list
Let's start with the to do list. The shorter the better. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits suggests that you kill your to do list and have a to do item. When you wake up in the morning, write down the ONE thing that you absolutely want to get done. Don't put something simple like "brush my teeth", put down something challenging that has been festering in the back of your mind. Something very important that has been keeping you up at night. The one item list allows for complete concentration by clearing out all distractions. David Damron at The Minimalist Path has talked about keeping a list of three items or less. The idea here is that the shorter the list is the better. Having a long to do list keeps these tasks in your mind and you begin to think about way to many things at once. Keep a clear focused mind, and you will see results.
Now we move on to the "Not To Do" list. Put down stuff here that you constantly turn to when you fee overwhelmed. Tasks that you do just to make it through the work day: reading email, arranging file folders, updating contact information, etc. All these items may be important at some point, but they should be handled in batch fashion. Collect a pile of several contact updates before sitting down to enter them in.
This week at the office or in the field, with each new task you perform, ask yourself: Am I being productive, or just active? Am I just staying active to avoid tackling important tasks?
Don't catch a case of the Mondays.