Have you ever had an important project or goal to accomplish that you just can’t get to? Every day you have the best intentions to start, but evening rolls around and you transfer it to the next day’s agenda.
Usually the work I put off is my best work. The work I fill my days with is busy work.
Busy work looks different than it did years ago. It used to be mindless work, like stuffing envelopes or filling out forms. Today busy work looks important, but it’s not our best work. Usually it’s someone else’s work that dictates our daily schedule.
There’s been a cultural shift in the past 10 years that silently affects us all. We wake up and immediately start responding. We answer emails, texts, private messages. Before we know it, our day is filled. And our best energy and effort has been given to other people’s projects.
Spend the First of Your Day on Priority Tasks
We have things upside down! The things that matter least replace the things that matter most in our schedules.
If you are nodding your head right now, may I suggest an alternative approach? Rather than start your day on busy work, get in the habit of spending the first part of your day on your priorities. This involves the simple habit of reordering our work.
Resist the urges to knock out some of the small tasks so you can focus on a big task. That doesn’t work. By the time you get to your best work, you will have depleted your focus and willpower to tackle it.
Avoid the Black Hole of Emails
Maybe you’re like me and emails are a big part of your day. When I’ve got a big project due, I can’t get sucked into the email vortex. It’s a black hole!
If you must check email in the morning, just scan for emergencies. But don’t respond unless it’s a true emergency. You could set-up an auto-response email that says “Thank you for your email. I’ll be back in touch with you as soon as I’m able.” That honors the sender, confirms the receipt and puts you in control of the response.
We teach people what to expect from us. If we reserve our mornings for our priorities, people will know to wait on our response. And then we will finish the day knowing we have didn’t get stuck doing busy work – we did our best work!
Question: How do you order your daily work so that you make time for the priorities?