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Stop Doing ‘Busywork’ And Start Doing Important Work Instead

Jari Roomer
Apr 27 · 10 min read

“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.” — Warren Buffett

What Is Busywork Actually?

Busywork can be defined as all those tasks and activities that we spend a lot of time and energy on, even though they don’t significantly contribute to the achievement of our most important goal(s).

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Why Busywork Is So Hard To Resist

Busywork appeals so much because we feel productive when we are engaged in it. Doing a lot of different things makes us feel important (and we like to feel important). When we have a to-do list of 35 tasks and we accomplish 27 of them, we feel really good about ourselves as we’ve done a lot of work.

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Real Productivity Is About Doing Less, Not More

In my experience, improving your productivity is more about subtracting rather than adding. It’s about identifying and eliminating those tasks that you spend a lot of time and energy on, although they hardly contribute to the realization of your goals. It’s about doing fewer tasks, but making sure that the tasks you do work on are incredibly valuable and mission-critical for the achievement of your goal.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how hard you work if you work on the wrong things.

Not only will you become a lot more productive this way, but you’ll also be less overwhelmed, have better focus and achieve your goals much, much faster. When you continuously analyze which tasks are and aren’t worthy of your time, you’ll start to completely transform the way you work.

My 3-Step Productivity Process

To help me implement this in my daily work life, I use a 3-step productivity process that helps to eliminate busywork, get better focus and therefore achieve my goals much faster than before.

Step 1: Identifying Your Most Valuable Desired Outcome

In order to maximize your productivity, you need to gain clarity on what your desired outcome actually is. What do you want to achieve? What are you actually working towards? If you’re not fully clear about your destination, you’ll get lost in all the possibilities and distractions along the way.

What one thing, if achieved this week/month/quarter/year, would lead me to consider this week/month/quarter/year to be a total success?

The answer to this question is your most valuable desired outcome. This is your number one goal that you should work towards.

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By gaining clarity on your destination, you’ll be much better able to create a clear route and avoid all the time-consuming distractions along the way.

Unfortunately, I see many writers, content creators and entrepreneurs who are chasing after false rewards. They are drawn towards outcomes that are relatively insignificant compared to their most valuable desired outcome. Think about outcomes such as likes, followers, retweets and empty email inboxes.

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Remember, the fact that something is of any value doesn’t mean you should chase after it. There are massive opportunity costs involved in doing so. Rather, your resources should be spent on your most valuable tasks that lead to your most valuable desired outcome.

Step 2: Getting Clear On Your Most Valuable Tasks (MVT’s)

The next step in the process is to get clear on your Most Valuable Tasks (aka, your MVT’s). Without a doubt, this step has had the biggest influence on my productivity levels of all the productivity hacks, techniques and principles out there.

“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” — Warren Buffett

Essentially, we are using the 80/20 rule here. We identify the 20% of activities that lead to roughly 80% of the desired outcome.

  1. Create strong, highly valuable email marketing sequences through which people can see more of my content and products
  2. Create products (courses and e-books) that blow people away in terms of value

Step 3: Identify All Your ‘Busywork’ Activities

Step 3 in the process is to identify all of those tasks that can be considered ‘busywork’. These tasks consume your valuable limited resources such as time and energy, while they either only contribute to achieving insignificant metrics (such as likes, retweets and comments) or only lead to some progress towards your desired outcome. These tasks aren’t worthy of the majority of your time and energy.

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Now Do It

Change only happens when you execute. Therefore, as an action point for this article, follow the 3-Step Productivity Process. Identify your most valuable desired outcome(s), create a list of your 1–5 most valuable tasks and then identify all your busywork activities. Create one document that contains all of this information, and refer back to it every single day.

Want To Upgrade Your Productivity?

Download my free guide ’27 Productivity Hacks For Superhuman Performance’ to learn how to get better results without working more hours, achieve your personal & business goals 372% faster and gain more free time (without feeling guilty about it).

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Jari Roomer

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I write about productivity, peak performance and anything personal growth | Download The Free ’27 Productivity Hacks’ Guide Here:

Personal Growth Lab

Sharing Proven and Actionable Advice On Improving Your Performance | Download The Free ’27 Productivity Hacks’ Guide Here: