Worthwhile Work Or Active Avoidance?
“You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.”
– Tom Kite
Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of getting things done. So much so that we forget to consider whether or not it’s actually worth our time.
Then there are times when we’re actually looking for distractions. When we’re actively avoiding unpleasant work. Work that needs to get done.
This is where it can get dangerous. Especially if we keep ourselves busy in order to not do the work that’ll lead us where we want to go.
Procrastination at its worst.
While we might have the best of intentions the results speak for themselves. We feel bad, it affects others, we get burnt out etc.
That’s why it’s good to have a system in place.
A system that makes sure we check in at least once every day on what we did, what we’re doing, and what needs to be done.
Before we internalize the practice and mindset it’s good to have an external system.
I keep three boxes marked “Incoming”, “Ongoing”, and “Outgoing”.
As soon as I get an idea or an assignment I put it in the “Incoming” box.
When I’m ready to start working on it I put it in the “Ongoing” box. If at the end of the day I’m not finished with it, I put it back in the “Ongoing” box.
Once I’m finished with it I put it in the “Outgoing” box.
I used to skip the “Outgoing” box and just throw it in the trash. The problem was that as I became more productive I lost track of the things I’d actually accomplished.
Not having anything tangible to look back on I pushed myself to do more and more.
This lead to me feeling burnt out. Nothing major, just in the general “What the fuck am I actually doing?” kind of way.
What I did was to take a minute and sift through my “Incoming” box. Was every assignment, project, and idea worth my time and attention?
Now, it was good to get everything down so that I didn’t have to keep track of it all in my head.
But mindlessly working through it all without taking into account the value I’d derive from it just sucked me dry.
That’s when I decided that if I couldn’t justify within 1 minute why I should do it, then I simply wouldn’t. I’d either pass it along to someone else, keep it in a seperate “junk” box, or I’d discard it.
At first it seemed like a waste of time but I quickly found that I’d rather spend 1 minute giving it some serious thought than simply starting and realizing halfway through that it isn’t worth it.
So, get yourself 3 boxes (or 4 if you need it!). Get it all out there. Give yourself some time to think about the task at hand.
Then? Jump on it!
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!