How often do we wake up, get into the office and then wish we could escape our day because it is just too overwhelming? There are so many things we need to do, calls we need to make, emails to reply to and stuff on our desk to go through. It goes on and on. Many times we just don’t know where to start and we just want to throw our hands up in the air and walk away. We all have this feeling at some time or another. I know it all too well.
While we cannot control what comes our way, we can control how we react to it. The frustration and anxiety that comes from being overwhelmed exists because we look at our area of responsibility in totality. What we really need to do is look at a smaller picture. We need to look at the one thing we can do right now that needs to be done. That’s it. Only one thing!
When I am at work I can’t get personal things tended to. When I’m at the dinner table I can’t return phone calls. Well, I can but then I’d be looking for a new wife and kids! Ask yourself a simple question, “What is the most important thing I need to do now and here where I am?” Answer the question and then go do it. Once you’ve completed that project simply ask the question again. In other words, ask the question, do it and repeat. Many times we want to do the easiest thing on our to do list, just so we can mark it off and feel that we’ve accomplished something. In reality, the easiest thing probably isn’t moving us any closer to the completion of a goal. And, it only takes away from our productivity. Remember, do the “most important thing”.
This single-minded focus will keep you on task and also reduce the frustration that we all face with so much going on. Once we reduce the frustration we are empowered to get something done. Giving up and leaving will only make it worse tomorrow so we need to make progress today.
I have found that when I follow this practice for an entire day I am able to achieve an amazing amount of work. At the end of the day I realize that I was able to not only get a lot done, but I got the most important things done and I feel really good about myself.
Try this system for the next three weeks. Use it every day. First thing in the morning ask yourself the question, and then go at it. After three weeks you’ll notice that you have developed new habits, that you will have greater focus and that your productivity will shoot through the roof. That’s what being accountable is all about!