ProductivityLife8 May 2022 | 3 Min Read
#31 - Laser Focus
How we spend our time can have a massive impact on how and when we achieve our goals. In this edition, I cover this reality and what we can do about it.
Hey Friends 👋
We're back again for another edition of the newsletter; this week I want to talk about how we spend our time and how we can use our time to drive ourselves towards our goals.
We all know we only have 24 hours in a day, but unfortunately, we don't get to use all 24 hours to work towards our goals, dreams, and ideas. Instead, we more likely get something like 1-3 hours per day after you subtract all the less fun but essential things like eating, sleeping, shopping, cleaning, etc.
So, if we only have 1-3 hours a day to work towards our goals and we can't increase that number by outsourcing tasks, then how we spend that time becomes all the more important.
To ensure we're driving towards our goals, we need to work on tasks which have two things:
- The highest return on investment. Does this task give us the most progress for the energy we expend?
- The most relevance to our goal. All the tasks we complete in this reserved block of time should serve our goal in an obvious way.
We need both of these things in a task for it to be worth us working on it. If we have a task with a massive return on investment but absolutely no relevance to our goal; it's pointless.
At the same time, the inverse is true; if we have a task that is highly relevant to our goal but has an abysmal return on investment for the energy we expend, then it's not worth us doing it either.
One of the best ways I've seen this explained is by Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less; in this book, he uses the below image (or a very similar one) to explain the concept.
Looking at this image sums it up perfectly. We can either expend our energy in many different directions towards many different goals, making little progress in each.
Or, we can focus on a goal and only take on tasks that drive our energy towards that goal, giving us a lot of progress in one direction.
Going forward, I want to be more of the circle on the right and less of the one on the left, so for all future tasks I'm going to ask two questions:
- Does this task drive me towards my current goal?
- Is there another task I could be doing which would yield more progress towards my goal right now?
If the question covers number one, it'll be added to my list of tasks to do at some point. But, only if the answer to question two is "No" will the task become my immediate focus.
Ultimately, I think it comes down to this; we have to be deliberate with our focus and time because no one else will.
I hope you have an amazing week, next week; I look forward to speaking with you again then.
As always, thank you for reading.
💯 My Current Faves
- 🎤: The Ezra Klein Show: The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I've Heard. Now, I don't want to start arguments with any Crypto fans. But, I encourage everyone to give this podcast a listen regardless of your stance. It made me question my thoughts on Crypto, Web 3, and NFTs and might make you do the same.
Thought, Question, Challenge 🤔
- Thought: One laser-focused task is more beneficial than many unfocused ones.
- Question: How has splitting your focus between goals impacted your progress?
- Challenge: Going forward, for each new piece of work, ask does it contribute to your goal? Or is it just a distraction?
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