I don’t have any philosophical or long winded arguments today, just one basic question that I was asking myself (in a moment of reflection), and thought I would share with everyone else:
“What did I get done today?”
A day is easier to analyze then a week, as a month is easier to analyze then a year. By looking at today – and just today – we can see what kind of habits we are forming. More importantly, we can see if we are doing busy work – getting done urgent, but unimportant things – or if we are truly working towards our long term goals.
How can you better assess your day? Here’s an idea, try using the following matrix. I happen to hate 2×2 matrices, but there is a very interesting one I came across while reading about time management. It’s two axis’s are Importance and Urgency. The matrix is below:
|Low Urgency||High Urgency|
|High Importance||Long term goals||Short term goals|
|Low Importance||Avoidable||Time wasters|
The key here is to ask yourself this: where do the majority of my activities fall?
The tendency is to do things that are high urgency: the phone calls, responding to emails – getting things off your plate. However, what often happens is that we neglect the tasks that have a very high importance, but a low urgency, because of just that; they have a low urgency. There is no one clamouring for you to learn a new language. Your boss isn’t emailing you to start that new diet, or go to the gym. No one is hounding you to re-connect with an old friend or colleague.
While the end goal is for you to act upon the information, the first thing to do is understand it – to be cognisant of where you are spending your time, and whether or not it is in your long term best interest. Use the above matrix – how many of the things you accomplished today fall into the long term goals category? After all, this week will be made up of days, and this month will be made up of weeks. Therefore, if you didn’t do it today, chances are you might not do it at all. How many of them were time wasters? Once you answer that question, if you are unhappy with the answer, take action to correct it.
The real question to keep asking yourself: what did I really get done today?