Most of us spend our days feeling like we were really, really busy; but at the end of the day it seems that we have accomplished very little. People spend their days working on urgent matters rather than what is really important. The truth is that if we spent our time working on things that are important we would have little left in our lives that was urgent. Think of it this way: if you neglect your car it will break down. You have neglected what is important, car maintenance, and now you have and urgent matter to deal with. It is better to make sure that your car has the maintenance it needs over time rather than having to deal with a crisis. So how do we stay focused on what is truly important?
• Make a list of the three things that are most important for that day. To make that list ask yourself what you would do if you could only do three things that day.
• Provide value with everything that you do. When you are about to take on a task ask yourself what value you are providing yourself or others by getting it done. You may find that it is time to move on to another task.
• Do your list of most important tasks first thing in the morning. You will have fewer distractions at this time. Even if you do get bogged down later in the day you will still feel like you really accomplished something.
• Judge tasks on their long term value. Checking Facebook will have little future value, where as writing a chapter in your novel will really be a step towards your goals. Eating a healthy breakfast and working out will help you long term much more than a greasy donut.