Living High Impact
At any given time, I could probably write down 100 things I could be doing at that time. I've come to realize that the most important resource at my disposal is time. Because of this realization, I categorize and rank things to decide what to do. When I don't do this, I find myself spending time on things that are irrelevant to moving my life forward. Why wouldn't you only do only the most important things? That may be idealistic but I think it's possible. This will discuss some of the framework I have for deciding what I should be doing and when to do it.
To be able to segregate important things and unimportant things, you need a mission. Where are you trying to get and what are the things that you need to do to get there. I say this as if that's an easy thing to figure out - it isn't. If you don't know what this is, every waking moment should be focused on figuring out what that is. Everything outside of that list is noise. Creating and deciding on a mission will be a topic for another paper but for now, let's assume we all have one.
Much of that "noise" comes from other obligations. Things we commit to that we don't want to do. I think of days in the past I've spent running errands - at the end of the day, I've never felt the feeling of accomplishment even though I "did" many things. That's because the day's energy went to "low impact" tasks. Low impact in this case meaning things that aren't on my moving forward list. Unfortunately, many of these tasks have to be completed but the idea is to strive to accomplish only high-impact tasks.
Distinguishing between high impact and low impact deciphers what to do. Fleshing out the effort required will determine when something should be done. All my life I've been told that the right things to do are the hardest - I haven't quite figured out when that applies but I don't think it applies here. Don't get me wrong, many are but I don't think that's where we should start. I believe we should start with the easiest items.
Starting with the lowest effort items does two things. First, it builds momentum. So much of productivity is built on gaining speed. Tackling the hardest problem on a test first is never a good idea. You get your mind warmed up with some smaller problems that prepare your mind for something more difficult. The same applies here. Second, doing this maximizes your productivity allowing you to get the most done. There are likely several small tasks that have been bothering you that don't actually take that much effort. Cleaning my car is always one of these - doesn't take long but makes the world of difference when you do it. This brings us to the convergence of these two factors.
Bringing the two elements of impact and effort shows us where we need to be living. We want to prioritize our time on things that are high impact and require low effort. This enables maximum use of our resources for the most productive tasks. This is what that looks like.
The circle is where we want to live. Unfortunately not everything we do is easy, as I was mentioning earlier. This just means that when you run out of items in the circle, you move over to high impact high effort items. Staying above the line means regardless of effort level, our time is being spent productively.
This framework has guided me in my decision-making process. Spend time above the line.