Most of our days are filled with monotonous tasks that we choose to do to keep ourselves busy. Whether it be checking our phones for email, checking our email for email, or checking on anything to keep our minds away from the real stressful tasks at hand. Success comes from the ability to not be productive, but being effective.
It means nothing if you can do something useless 100 times faster than the average person. What matters is that you made progress in an area that you need to make progress in. And so, there are a couple of ways to focus your energies on the right things.
- What does your gut tell you? Most of the time the thing we most dread doing is the thing that we most need to do. Whether it be a group project, a huge paper, or a deadline, we all know what we need to do, but we push it off until the last moment, and we have no choice to burn out. Do that thing first. One of the habits that I had/have in school is I try to finish half to all of my papers within the first 2 weeks of school. They cause the most stress, so let’s get them out of the way.
- 80/20 analysis
This is a statistics principal called Pareto’s Law, and it is a universal constant that can be found in all fields. It basically states that 80% of your success and/or problems come from 20% of your distributed efforts. So how do we use Pareto’s law to our own lives?
Write S*** down.
Whether it be your daily habits, or your work habits, write down everything you do in bullet points, and right next to the habits you should write how effective they are in accomplishing your main goals. So for example, let’s say you are a salesmen, your list would look something like—
a. Check Email—–> Productive only during the first 10 minutes of the day, all else is unnecessary.
b. Cold Calls—-> Highly profitable
And the list would go on and on until you have written everything down, but you can do this even with a singular skill. Let’s say that the must lucrative thing you do is cold calls, there will also be particular times of day where you have the most success, and also particular types of people that you have the easiest time with. And by figuring out these key factors, you give yourself a place to focus your energy specifically so that you can be even more effective.
Recording what you do, and going over the days work is a crucial part in self improvement. You have to see if you are making any progress or not, and the only way to do that is to pay attention. So start recording, and start editing.
It’s that simple,