Over the past few weeks I’ve been really digging into something that’s brought some big changes. You see, one of the primary ways I use my journal is as a task manager to keep track of things.
I’ve incorporated into my task tracking not only what needs to be done, but also what matters. Because of this I’ve started to see some huge rewards from my Journal.
Creating Space For Leisure
I just recently put up a new prompt titled “What Would Complete My Day?”, and it is game changing.
It has become my very first prompt of the day, because without filling this out you can’t possibility know what to focus on.
This is a reflective prompt, that when used along with a good set of organizational prompts allows you to do something quite outstanding, which is “Completing” your day.
Completing your day “unlocks” your day, and opens it up to more life-living activities and gives you space to think. It creates leisure, and the ability to operate more freely.
So of course, the sooner you complete what’s important, the sooner your day becomes open to you.
“Completing” vs “Finishing” your Day
Up until this point I operated on “I have x hours in the day, so I’m going to get as much done as possible in those hours”.
Did I get a lot done? Yes, of course.
Did I finish each day feeling accomplished? Heck no.
This sucked. I’d work long and hard each day and feel that I had very little accomplished or fulfillment from all that effort.
However as the 80/20 rule states “80% of output is created by 20% of the input”.
In other words, there are only a very few things that actually matter. In this case “Tasks” would be the input and “Fulfillment” will be the output. 80% of the days fulfillment will be created by 20% of the days tasks completed.
Completing that 20% completes your day. You’re done. That 20% is of course defined by figuring out what will complete your day.
Finishing your day, on the other hand, is what happens when you go home.
Everybody finishes their days eventually, whether it’s 5pm, 8pm, or midnight. Very few however seem to “Complete Their Day”. I’ve found that if a day is incomplete you can’t shut up your mind when you try to go to bed, so it’s easy to know if you’re doing the right things or not.
Busting The Productivity Myth
In the end, what this really did for me was break a lot of my preconceptions as to what productivity was.
I always thought that the art of productivity was the ability to do more in less time.
Going to our basic equation of accomplishment: Attention + Time = Progress, we know that time is good, and it’s great to do more in less time, but our attention is a factor too.
What we pay attention to makes progress, and it’s great to get more done. But there is something very important that isn’t directly considered in this equation.
Paying attention to things, over time, costs energy. This puts a cap on what we can accomplish.
To me, productivity was this magic bullet that made paying attention to things over time more efficient, so that I used less energy. This is however only half the truth.
There’s no sense in being efficient at doing the wrong things.
This has caused me to conclude that an unproductive person that does the right things is far more effective than a super productive person who tries to do everything.
Since I’ve started completing my days, my stress level has dropped and I’m starting to balance out my weeks a lot more. I hope you can do the same.
That about does it for this blog post. Let me know what you think!