“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
Peter F. Drucker
This is key to avoiding the ‘activity’ or the ‘productivity’ trap. I have met – in real life and virtually – many people who are focussed on getting more and more things done. They read books to help them do more. They have electronic gadgets to help them do more. They manage to cram more and more things in to their days, they even work out ways to sleep less. The challenge is that they are often cramming in the wrong things. I know, I was one of them. It is a tragedy, please don’t get caught in the ‘activity trap’, where you end up far to busy to stop and realise that you are wasting your time. You will be highly efficient, but completely ineffective in your life. You can save yourself from the productivity trap right now, by starting to work out what REALLY needs doing.
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Having said all that, don’t fall into the planning trap either! Life is full of paradoxes and contradictions isn’t it? I reached a point where I was spending most of my life planning. I had a 360 item to do list and it would take me an hour to work out what I was meant to be doing next. It was usually something that I then put off until the next day. Day after day. The list grew and I shrunk. It took me a lot of time and effort the extract myself from that pit. The reality is that ending up with a 360 item to do list was a sign the size of a small planet telling me that I didn’t have an effective way of working out what needs doing. I had only worked out a way of writing down what wanted doing and what I thought that I might want to do, which was more than enough for two people, if not a small army.
“I just don’t have enough time” people shout. Well, everyone gets 24 hours, they just use it differently. Time management books remind you that you can’t manage time, you can only manage you.
- Do the things that should be done, above the things that want to be done.
- You can make time to do the things that you most want to do.
- Live life on purpose, it is the one thing that will make the biggest difference – Be purposeful in all that you do!
Or, in a sentence, work out what needs doing, and do it. Now, how do you do that?