You have a goal. You have a deadline. You are working on your to-do list. Now what?
You need to take some time to focus on your most important tasks and ignore all the others. You need to become a time-waster.
It’s easy to think that we should always be working on our most important tasks, but that would actually be a bad thing. In fact, it’s often counterproductive.
In the short term, being productive means you’ll work faster and accomplish more. But over the long term, it leads to burnout, stress and frustration.
I’ve found that the only way to be more productive is to remove distractions. This means taking a break from time to time to focus on your most important tasks.
STEP 1: Get Rid of Distractions
One of the biggest distractions is the to-do list. If you have a list of things you need to get done, you’ll find yourself working on them before your priorities are addressed.
To stop this from happening, I use a simple checklist. It’s very similar to the bullet points on your to-do list, but it has only two categories: actionable and non-actionable.
Actionable items are the things that need to get done right away. Things like writing blog posts, editing your website, or contacting clients.
Non-actionable items are the things that don’t need to get done right away. These might include researching a topic, making a plan or scheduling a meeting.
Once you have completed all the actionable items on your list, you can cross off the ones that don’t need to be done immediately.
STEP 2: Prioritize Your Tasks
Now that you have a clear idea of what you need to do, you need to prioritize your tasks. If you haven’t already, create a list of your top priorities. This will help you avoid working on items that aren’t important.
After you have your top priority list, you can start to work on your tasks. Start by tackling the most urgent ones first. These are the most important things you need to do today.
Once you’ve completed these items, you can move on to the next batch of tasks. If you have a lot of things to do, you might want to do a couple of these at once.
If you’re stuck on one task for too long, you need to put it aside and focus on something else.
STEP 3: Focus on the Most Important Task
Finally, it’s time to focus on the most important task. What’s the most important thing you can do today?
If you have several options, choose the one that will give you the most value. You’ll be able to see results in a matter of days.
But if you choose the wrong task, you can end up doing nothing at all. Make sure you pick the right task and do it right away.