I’m writing this blog around 8:30 am on a Saturday morning, and my day is coming along well.
Through our parish, I participate in a men’s bible study program called That Man Is You (TMIY), and we meet on Saturday mornings at 6:30 a.m.
I have decided to make this time commitment a priority in my life. Yes … it’s a little early for a weekend, but the benefits of the program far outweigh an extra hour or two of sleep.
For many years, I have committed myself to increasing my level of productivity. Instead of focusing on the amount of time spent on a task, I want to determine the value gained from completing the task.
The point here is that it is easy to fall into the trap of busy work. The problem with most busy work is it can be done without much thinking and effort.
Here are some examples of busy work:
- I spend most of the day focused on incoming emails, believing that answering them promptly will yield value.
- I make phone calls to friends and colleagues to chat about everyday stuff, such as the news and sporting events.
- I spend time planning a project but fail to execute the work required for completion.
While reading The Science of Success by Napoleon Hill, I learned that defining your purpose is critically important to getting things done. Hill states that we must create a plan of action and start working on it immediately.
When we lack a purpose, we lack direction, which means busy work creeps into our lives.
There is a simple and 100% effective approach we can follow to generate success:
- Define the purpose and create a plan of action.
- At the beginning of each day, prioritize three actions you can take to realize your purpose.
- Do not let anything distract you from these three actions. In other words, stick with this work until it gets done.
- The next day … repeat.
By focusing on these high-value items, success is inevitable. It might take time, even years, but we can be confident we are heading in the right direction. Also, by focusing on stuff that really matters, we avoid time-wasting activities which yield zero value.
I find that most people believe there is a correlation between working long hours and generating value. In fact, I used to think if I put in 12+ hours of work per day, I would eventually be successful.
However, many studies have shown that working additional hours will not yield additional benefits. In fact, the opposite is true … over-working will eventually lead to exhaustion and decreased productivity.
Start with Your Purpose
Until we know what makes us happy, it’s difficult to create a plan that is right for us. I’ve discovered that a healthy balance is important. In fact, there are some days when family and faith take priority, and I will commit the entire day to these activities.
When we define and believe in our purpose, the allocation of time is easier to make. In fact, getting up super early on Saturday to attend a men’s bible study program will even feel like the right thing to do.