What Can You Do That Will Have The Biggest Positive Outcome On Your Day?
A common issue I come across when helping people improve their productivity and time management is the issue of what they are trying to do each day. It’s more about the volume of work rather than what and the quality of the work they are doing. This pressure to do more is what causes stress, overwhelm and anxiety and it’s not a pleasant place to be.
The reality is there are only twenty-four hours a day and for some of that time we need to exercise, rest, sleep and eat. It’s not all work and should never be all work.
The problem with trying to do more of the wrong meaningless things is you end up paralysed. Your efficiency drops and you find yourself running around in circles not actually moving anything forward. In my experience, these people are the ones who tell everyone how busy they are — which might be true — but that “busyness’ comes at a cost of doing work that has no real value and does not drive anything very far.
A friend of mine loves to show all his Facebook followers how often he’s in the office working on a weekend and how late he is finishing. He often writes poetically about the evils of work and complaining about how much he has to do. He creates slide decks that are hundreds of slides long and proposals that run to thousands of words. Never once has he ever stopped to ask “what could I do to reach my outcome faster and more efficiently?” His belief is “more is better” — it’s a belief that if he can show his potential clients the volume of work he has done he will get the business. Yet, what will get him more business would be to focus more on what will give him the biggest positive impact on his desired outcomes. A smaller slide deck and shorter proposal focused more on what the potential client wants and how his proposal will solve their problem would do more for his business than demonstrating to his potential clients he is a workaholic (of the worst kind)
When I developed the 2+8 Prioritisation Method, I initially designed it for myself because I was trying to tackle too much each day and it felt as if I was running round in circles. The solution came from a talk I heard Brian Tracy give in which he advised asking a simple question each day “what could I do today that would have the biggest positive outcome on my goals?” Now that just blew me away. I realised I had been asking the wrong question. Instead of asking what I could do that would have the biggest and positive outcome on my goals, I had been asking “how can I get more work done today?” This question gives an entirely different result.
When you look at what you have to do from the perspective of what will have the biggest positive outcome on your day, you start doing work that really moves your projects and goals forward.
The solution to reducing stress and overwhelm is to reduce unnecessary busywork. Now, I know many will immediately react to this and say “I can’t, everything I do each day is important” but the problem here is unless you do reduce the amount you are trying to do each day and start figuring out which part of your work gives you your biggest impact you are going to continue feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and anxious. If you are not prepared to change the way you work and ask the question what could you do that would have the biggest positive outcome on your work, you are going to continue feeling stressed out and anxious. This addiction to overwhelm and anxiety is not a good condition to be in. The long-term damage this will do to your health will be irreversible and will result in serious problems later in life.
The quote “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” By Jessie Potter is true. Unless you explore better ways of doing your work, focusing less on the more and more on the what you are working on, you will always be stressed out and overwhelmed.
So start exploring. Ask yourself better questions. Questions like “how can I do this better?” And “what’s the outcome I want here and how can I reach that outcome more efficiently?”
It’s time for a change. It’s time to start focusing on what will have the biggest positive impact on your outcomes.
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