I think that this all comes down to confusing the "important" with the "urgent".
We spend so much of our waking hours attending to urgent matters. Someone needs us to get back to their email, another person needs us to return a call and still another person needs that document that's due in an hour! It's exhausting.
The best thing I've trained myself to do it cut the fat. If I find something stressing me out and it's not important, I simply won't do it. This doesn't mean that I'm screwing people over. Not at all. I'm just electing to focus my time on things that are important.
Stephen Covey had this figured-out, with his four quadrant system. If you're not familiar with that, I highly recommend you Google it right now. Seriously, stop reading and go Google it.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” - Stephen Covey
It's helpful to focus on one thing, every day, that is the MOST important. If you can get that done, the rest of your day will be exceedingly more productive... and you'll feel 10 times happier than you would if you focused on urgent things that are not important.
I recently met with a capable executive who is passionate about his work and good at it. The problem is he pursues so many initiatives that by the end of the year people don't really know what he has accomplished. They know he has done “a bunch of stuff” but in the blur of busyness they can’t be quite sure what it adds up to. It's the career equivalent of Apple's undisciplined approach of "add more product lines" before Steve Jobs' return. Their answer to everything was “another product” until at they’re peak they reached 330 different products. It almost sank the company.
The reason for my meeting with the executive in question was a good one: he wanted me to run essentialism workshops to every person in his company. Still, with no sense of irony, he also wanted to roll out five other workshops. In the last...
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