Do you ever get that nagging feeling that even though you are running as hard as you can, you are not really accomplishing that much? Do you ever go home, flop into your chair exhausted, and then try to figure out what did I really accomplish today?
You got to work early and left late, you attended several meetings (and did email on your smartphone when the boss wasn’t looking – even though she was doing the same thing), made and received multiple phone calls, handled an endless stream of email, and on and on. When you look at your calendar, there is no white space on it – you are moving right from one thing to another at breakneck speed. You are a blur of activity and it is exhausting.
Yet, you aren’t accomplishing all that much. What’s up with that?
Could it be that somehow we have confused activity with productivity? Quantity with effectivity? Could it be that somehow we have come to take a little pride in the hundreds or even thousands of emails in our inbox? Have we taken a bit of pride in all the meetings we attend? A little pride in all that activity? Surely, all those things indicate that we are valuable! That we are important! Right? Right?
Are we getting our sense of value out of how busy we are? Does that seem a little off to you? Does to me.
The research shows that the people that are really impactful – over the long run; the ones that are truly effective and even have a healthy family life are those that do less but accomplish more.
These people have To Do Lists for the day that will only have two – three items on the list. They are important things, but they are very few. They leave plenty of “white space” on their calendars for thinking. They ensure they carve out time for God, their families, others, recreation, exercise and so on. They have thought about what they do and by doing so understand what is really important to be done. They understand their priorities and work to them.
They focus like a laser beam on the few things that are truly important for the day and they get them done and do them well.
Check out this article on the Inc. site: The 80% Energy Rule: An Old Secret to Success. It’s a great story of how one executive learned this lesson – but only after he burned out and slipped into depression. Don’t be like him and don’t think that somehow you are the exception.
Quit all that frenetic activity – concentrate on the few things that are important and start becoming truly effective in all aspects of your life – create something wonderful.
By the way – it won’t be easy – we actually get addicted to the adrenaline rush from being a “firefighter” rushing from one thing to another. But work hard at changing old habits – reexamine what you really value, break old habits and make new ones. You will be grateful that you did so.
Peace and grace to you on this Wednesday,