Since the modern-age curse of perpetual ‘busyness’ is killing us, here is a simple first step for getting started on fixing the problem.
Before you start work tomorrow morning, open a spreadsheet (or use a notepad), and after every 30-minute time-block (or every hour, if 30 min seems impractical), jot down what you did in the previous time-block.
You might be inclined to dismiss this suggestion: After all, don’t you already know how you spend your time? Here is my counterpoint: What do you have to lose? Just give it a shot.
Here are my predictions about what this exercise will tell us:
1. We are constantly switching and mixing different activities, instead of doing one thing in a focused manner.
2. Most of our ‘work’ is reacting to stuff (e.g., email, messages), instead of doing things that create value for years to come.
3. We rarely allocate large time-blocks (e.g., 2-3 hrs) for important tasks.
4. The tasks we deeply care about, get very little attention. Urgency overtakes importance.
This process will make us uncomfortable. But discomfort is the prerequisite for any change.
Do share your experience in the comments - I would love to hear from you.
Another day, I will share some ideas on fixing this problem.