Workin’ Hard Getting Nothing Done

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We all work hard and it seems like there’s always more work to be done. My last two posts were on 7 Steps to Having More Time. (Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2)

I’ve noticed something about myself and I’m wondering if it’s the same for you. When I plan out my day to focus on my most important thing and stick to the plan I get a ton done.

“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'”
— Marcus Aurelius

When I just have an idea of what I’m going to do, I don’t get as much done. Yet, I still feel like I worked just as hard. How does that happen?

This morning I realized how it happens for me.

I work from home in the mornings and I had great plans on important things to do. But, first I decided I needed to merge my domain email with my Gmail account — 40 minutes gone. Next, I decided I needed to upload the video of my daughter’s performance with the Starlight Stars. My phone didn’t sync with my Mac, so I had to download a program – 30 minutes gone.

Then I noticed a few hundred photos on my phone that were taking up space so I decided I needed to upload select photos from my phone to my Mac – another 20 minutes gone.

And so it went:

Send YouTube video I created to a contact (and watch some of my old ones) – 30 minutes

Check and reply to FB messages and notifications – 10 minutes

Check my LinkedIn account and reply to messages – 10 minutes

Renew my library books online – 5 minutes

I finally shook myself and realized that although I felt like I was working I had spent almost 2 hours doing absolutely no work on my most important thing. Not good.

I hadn’t planned well, and I wasn’t even sticking to my not so great plan. It wasn’t that the things I was doing were bad, it’s just that they were taking me away from the more productive things I really wanted to get done.

Focus, Grasshopper, focus.

At the end of the day we’re usually tired. If we’ve run around all day chasing our tail, putting out fires and just doing “work” we will experience an empty, dissatisfied, frustrated kind of tired.

If we focus on what’s essential and make great progress on that, we will experience a job well done, life is good, now I’ve earned some relaxation time kind of tired.

Questions for comments: How do you stay focused on your plan?

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