If you’re looking for a way to be more productive, one of the most important things to help you do this is to know where your focus belongs.
You need to understand the difference between the tasks that are urgent and the tasks that are important if you want to be more productive and capable during your workday. There are some serious differences between these two things and recognizing them can make a huge difference for you.
Your MundaneTasks Get In the Way
You know what’s important for you, but often these things get put on the back burner. The reason for this is that important tasks often take a lot more time than those that are urgent. Items that fall in the urgent category are those that need to get done right away because they have a deadline attached to them that is looming over your head.
Create a Schedule for Your Important Tasks
You can’t focus on important tasks unless you move other things off your list and actually schedule the time for the things you really want to get done. Use a strategy called “clearing the decks” in which you assign a particular task to a day and that’s the only thing you work on for that day. This can benefit you by giving you time to complete the task and focus appropriately.
You Need More Time; Make Sure You Have it
Unfamiliar tasks take more time because they have a learning curve that you must overcome. If the task is important to you, it’s important that you put in the work and focus on the things that need to get done. Make time once a week to put the time and effort into completing some of the most important things on your plate.
Focus on the Most Impactful Elements of Important Tasks
Big tasks often take time to complete and may require several increments of time for you to get to the completion of them. You can start with a lofty goal but break it down into steps and elements that will make it easier for you to go from the start to the finish. Start with realistic parts of the overall goal and get that done before moving to another step.
Anticipate Feelings of Anxiety
There’s a good chance you’re going to get frustrated and find getting the more difficult items on your list accomplished. You need to understand you’re going to feel this way and may find your confidence waning because of the way you feel. Make a plan to take a bit of time away from the task so that you can come back with a fresh mindset.
Growth is Difficult and Requires Focus
If one of the important tasks on your list has to do with growing your skills to be better at what you need to get done, you’re going to find feelings you don’t want to feel. Don’t get frustrated, bitter, or jealous of those that are experts. Learn from them and find out what you need to do to become better at the job you’re trying to do.
Spend Less Time on Unimportant Tasks
Unimportant tasks have a tendency of taking up more time than they should. To limit this, you have to employ strategies that help you make quicker decisions and get through the unimportant tasks that you’re faced with. When you have a pressing decision to make, do it quickly and let these unimportant items become a thing of the past so that you can keep your focus where you need it.
Prioritize Tasks that Will Reduce the Number of Urgent but Unimportant Tasks
Deadlines are always looming where you work, but you want to put your focus on the items that are important to you. Find the items that are urgent, unimportant, and can be done quickly to reduce the number and move forward with your day. If you can clear up your list in a few minutes, you’ll find that you can get back to those items you really want to spend your time on.
Focus on What Helps You See the Big Picture
Whether you use a personal accountability tool or you meet with some of your colleagues every six months or so, you can find a way to see the big picture better when you have someone or something to keep you accountable. Knowing where your focus was when you catch up can help you plan and improve in the next six months.