How do you work things out in general? How do you go about your tasks? Do you have a method or perhaps a process in accomplishing things? How do you go about your routine efficiently and productively? Do you get to do all of them in a day?
These are the most common questions you may ask about productivity. With so many things to do and just twenty-four hours in a day, we want to finish tasks and errands as much as we can.
How can we do it? Work, errands, children, hanging out, and more – how does it all fit in a day? Yet some people do so much in a day. Some people who do it are even very successful. How do successful people do it? How can they accomplish so much in their schedule?
Is there something we need to learn from them? We will tackle some things in this article to help you do things as successful people do it.
“To-do lists” are common. You may probably have one on hand right now. Many people have this checklist of things to do. Listing them at the start of the day or the week, listing all of the things they think they need to do. Then ticking them off as they accomplish them one by one.
Probably this is not a new thing to you anymore. Probably you have been doing this to-do list for years. However, what we’ll say next may not be common to you at all – that to-do list may actually lessen your productivity.
Having a long and full list for the day can give you the impression that it’s going to be a productive day because why not? You have listed all those stuff you think you need to be done! There’s no idle time as you have crammed in your list all that you can do in a day or a week! The more tasks, the more productive!
The thing is, this could be quite a burden. It looks good on paper, having listed a thousand and one things to accomplish. But come to think of it, are all of them really important? Or did you just want to see your day all filled up?
Having a long list doesn’t really translate to success. In fact, far from it. You may have been listing things that’s not even be necessary at all. List aren’t all that bad so why not make a different list?
How about a list that uses the Pareto Principle? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s also known as the 80/20 rule. We will relate the Pareto Principle to efficiency – that 80% of the outcome is based on the 20% effort made.
Let’s ponder on that, wouldn’t it be great if we focus on the 20% to achieve the most outcome? That’s what you can do to your list. Imagine using only 20% of your effort but coming up with 80% outcome! That’s efficiency if you ask us.
With that in mind, make a list that’s focused on doing the task that yields the most results. Apply the Pareto Principle to your list, over and over again, until you finally reach that single activity. When you have that – that’s the task you should put your focus on.
Before we proceed though, just a word of caution in multi-tasking. No matter how tempting it may seem, when you multi-task accept that your focus is divided between the tasks you plan to do. It scatters the focus. If less time and focus is devoted to that activity you have arrived upon, the 80/20 principle will not happen. Don’t expect grand results when the focus was not entirely given.
What Character is Needed
Most often, side by side success, discipline is often mentioned. However, when you really think about it, is it really? Successful people are believed to be disciplined. Because they are made out of it, they achieve their goals easier.
But when you look at them closely, it’s actually because they have acquired good habits through time. These accumulation of good habits is often seen collectively as having discipline. It’s not just about having discipline, it’s sticking with those habits that help you get nearer to success.
Another thing we should discuss is willpower. Also synonymous to success. But what is it really? It’s what keeps us going to finish whatever we’re up to. The thing with willpower though, we reach our peak at some point.
We run out of it, we get tired and disheartened, so we must use it for more important things. Using it for things like that one single task you have identified previously. Direct your willpower to better use. Don’t waste your willpower to activities that are not worth your while.
What is Balance?
And just like “to-do lists”, work-life balance is another concept constantly brought up. When we talk about work-life balance, it’s dividing your time to some certain activities to achieve “balance” in your life.
However, this has consequences. The focus to the task will be divided. The time spent will be averaged. This will indicate lesser time devoted to the task you should be focusing on. Remember some activities are not contributing to your goals in the long run. Also, some activities do not have impact. Your focus should be on the one that gives you the best results.
What Should You Focus On?
So we’ve been going around that activity that you should focus on. How do you find it? You have to ask yourself the right question.
What is that ultimate task that I should work on to make me more productive and to be able to avoid doing other unnecessary activities? Let’s break down that question. You need to know that ultimate task – so this asks you to specify which one. You surely have a lot of tasks in mind especially if you kept a to-do list previously. You have to identify which is the task of all tasks.
Next, this one activity promises you to be more productive, will make things easier and you will in turn avoid unnecessary tasks. So it’s an activity that should bring about a big impact. It should give you the best outcome also.
Once you have pinpointed that task, ask yourself the following questions:
Can it be done? You have to be realistic. Is it really do-able? Are you equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience to do it? If you think you have what it takes then, it’s a go.
In reality though, getting to this single point isn’t that easy. We lose focus, get attracted to other objectives. Things change. However, you can always keep track by listing down your priorities and knowing your purpose. Knowing your priorities will guide you and will keep you more in line.
Having a purpose will keep you driven. When you have a purpose, everything becomes more meaningful. You can track your priorities by setting your goals. What do you see five years down the road? From there you could actually plan what you can do in a year, in a month, in a week, and in a day.
What will you do in a year to realize what you want in five years? And in a month, what can you do to achieve what you want in a year? And it goes on…What you do everyday contributes to the five year plan. With this mindset, there is more purpose as what you do contributes to the entirety of that goal.
With all of these in mind, hopefully you also arrive at that task that will be your focus for the next few days, weeks, months, and years to come!