Focus On What’s Important! But What Is Important?AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
"An idealist believes that the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes that the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run" ~ Sidney J. Harris
Although we are in an era in which we have tools that make us productive enough to reduce a good part of our work and allow us to dedicate ourselves to more important things (including those things that have nothing to do with our work, such as leisure, family, or friends), we insist on changing the social rules so that spending most of our time working will always continue to be the normal thing to do.
Until recently everything was urgent, everything required immediate attention and action. Arbitrary deadlines were set for everything in order to hurry its realization and avoid certain “negative” consequences, almost always fictitious.
We are increasingly concerned with short-term results, even if it means being emptier than ever. You can see it everywhere, in politics, in companies, in social media…
Now everything is also important, everything has a significant impact on your goals. Transforming the urgent into the important is the way to make you believe that everything you do contributes to your career and personal development.
It is in everyone’s interest that you believe that “what matters” is what matters to them. That way, they get you to keep working “for you”. Before they had to set a schedule to tie you to the job; now they convince you of the importance of what you do so that you can work 24 hours a day.
In the world of rushing, urgencies, interruptions and constant notifications, it is increasingly difficult to be the master of your own schedule.
To be able to take back control you must consider these three things:
- We cannot multitask, multi-tasking does not exist. Our mind is single-tasking. What it does is to quickly shift focus from one thing to another, with major implications for the quality of the resulting work, the stress it brings, and the decrease in productivity that comes with the loss of concentration that occurs every time we shift focus.
- What is really important loses relevance in a world where the image we project takes precedence. If your image is the most important thing, you are at the mercy of what others want, those you need to impress.
- The imperative need for immediate results means that you will only have time to work. Everything else is pushed to the back burner.
It seems that we have been convinced that spending time on ourselves is selfish, and that there is only one schedule, the work one.
What can we do to avoid, or at least minimize, this nonsense?
To stop living this way you must be able to manage your own life schedule. For this to happen you need a system in which you can manage in parallel, and in a balanced way, both your professional and personal affairs.
Your personal management system must also reflect your goals and your interests, so that you are always clear about what is “important”. This is the only way to be in control of your life and be the master of your schedule.
You need a system that invites you to reflect. GTD is a personal management system designed to get you out of the empty world of immediacy and start a life in which a calm and meaningful effectiveness reigns. Looking up from time to time from your daily actions is important to give meaning to life.
What actions am I taking these days just for the sake of what people will say? Am I finding it hard to say no to things that do not really interest me? Am I acting coherently, according to my principles and goals? Am I managing to give value to my personal life within all this mumbo jumbo?
All these questions answer themselves when you have implemented the GTD perspective levels — purpose, vision, goals, focus areas.
Issues such as balancing your work agenda with your life agenda, and combining short-term actions with your longer-term goals, are essential to stay on track. GTD helps you recalibrate your compass every time things go wrong.