3 Questions That Will Change Your Mindset From Busy to Strategic
With these simple shifts in perception, you can leave 'frantic' behind and make real progress on goals.
Just about every time I ask someone how they are doing, they reply with something akin to, “Busy, but good.” There’s so much that demands our attention, from ads to scrolling through social media to work calls to family activities. While I realize everyone is fractionally or wholly overcommitted, with me being no exception, at some point I began noticing that at the end of some days, I would sum up with, “I have no idea where the day went” or “I didn’t get anything on my list done” or “I feel like I made no progress.” This trend got me wondering about ways to better define progress. Even if it’s small, such progress, I thought, has to be focused, and of a sort that actually pushes me — not just a series of ticks on an ever-growing list. To produce this new mindset, I asked myself three questions, and the result has been a huge difference in how I spend time and what I’m able to accomplish. Now, instead of hearing myself ask, “Where did the time go?” I get asked “Where do you find the time for everything you do?”
1. Does a task affect my future or my “right now”?
So many items that filled up my list, I found, simply didn’t affect the future. They might be tasks that pushed paper back and forth, or were a step in a larger process only. They didn’t achieve much and would likely have to be redone anyway, but I was letting them take up a majority of my time. So, I began asking, “Does the time I spend on this task move me into the future and help me get where I’m going, or does it keep me in the same place I am presently?” If it’s something that keeps me in the same place, it’s in one of two buckets: it has to be done or doesn’t have to be done. If the former, maybe as a part of my job or because it’s something my boss is asking for, I get it done quickly and effectively and move on. If it’s something that doesn’t really have to be done, I delete it. Perhaps it’s a meeting that was optional; I’ll then ask whether I will be adding value or getting value? If neither, I don’t attend — protecting that time for projects that help me create the future I’m working on.
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