Keeping track of what you have to do is one thing. To then actually do the right thing once you are doing something, is another matter entirely.
To be completely honest, wouldn’t you also confess to having spent time on something you in hind-sight wish you hadn’t invested your time in?
It needn’t be that you have lost yourself in some kind of net service (for instance one that starts with F, ends with k, and has a b in the middle), it might as well be that you are doing routine tasks which simply need completion, that are not very interesting, but which there seems to be plenty of regardless.
Suddenly you have wasted a lot of time on something trivial which you would rather have spent doing that one task, working on that particular project or that terrific idea.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you made use of and managed your time better as to avoid regretting how you spent it when it is already too late? You would then feel that you were progressing with the tasks you tend to postpone. And well, you wouldn’t just feel as if you were, but you would actually get them done sooner.
You could and would feel more at ease and content with yourself, since you are doing what you should when there is time for it.
An extraordinarily simple trick
A simple trick which has been surprisingly effective in my life is to occasionally ask myself if I am doing something at this very moment which I later will have wanted to have done the most.
Perhaps it sounds ambiguous, but in a little while you will be able to look back at this present moment. You will then either think “I really did something valuable and useful with my time” or you will think “Oh no, why did I spend time doing that, when I should have … instead?”.
So, if you can already imagine what it will feel like later when you look back at this moment this is useful when you need to prioritize amongst different tasks.
If you happen to be one of those who tend to loose yourself in the type of activities you later regret involving yourself in, this might be just the cure for you.
Think of a way which makes it easy for you to remember to from time to time during the day ask yourself ”Am I really doing what I later will want to have done?”
This could for example be:
- That you write the question on a note which you post on the computer screen, so that your eye catches it when you look at the screen
- That you create a bitmap image with the question on it, and then use this as you computer desktop background-image
- That you get one of those mouse-pads where the outer layer is a transparent pocket in which you can put a note with the question on
- That you write a small script so that a few times a day, at random times, a window pops up on your computer asking you the question
- That you write the question on a strip of paper which you paste with scotch tape onto the pen you use the most
- That you write the question on the front of the notepad you carry with you to meetings and which you usually have laying about on the desk
- That you write out the question in some other location of your choice where you without effort will see it a few times a day
Take a break or give someone a call?
Perhaps you perceive this aspiration to do the right thing at every given moment as something very stern or as a somewhat forced obligation. Do you really have to be so efficient all the time? Couldn’t you just be allowed to be yourself, like a normal person?
Of course you should be yourself. And if you do the right thing at the right time, you will have more time to be precisely that. Also, the right thing to do right now does not necessarily need to be something super-efficient or require effort, but it may very well be that what you later will want to have done was to relax and rest in the present moment.
Take a break might be just the right thing to do right now. Or, perhaps the right thing to do is to give that one particularly unpleasant client a call?
If you pose this simple control-question to yourself once in a while, you will not have to regret anything later.
You will make sure to have done what you would wanted to have done the most, so that you can initiate more things than you otherwise would have. If it turns out that you still regret not having done a different task, you will at least have exerted yourself to do your very best.
What is your trick?
What is your trick to not wasting time on trivial matters? Tip me and other subscribers off by leaving a comment.