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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.

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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 , from ads to scrolling through 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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