All of us are confronted with many things, in a day, that we either want or need to accomplish. The items on our list are endless. With distractions, we get pulled in so many different directions.
What do we do? We find ways to become more efficient. Apps to keep us organized. Lists to keep us from forgetting. Skipping meals to keep pushing on. Using every quick fix to keep us going. Ending up frustrated at the end of the week, realizing that there still was so much that we did not get to. Where did the time go?
Recently, I discovered the leverage of clarity in helping me move past the quick fixes into a world based on greater intention. One, where you still use tools but now understand much better what really needs to be done. This then allows us to use these tools more effectively.
By clarity, I mean being able to answer three simple questions. What am I doing today? What do I want to accomplish in the next year? Why do I need to do this or that? And then connecting the three BEFORE running ahead.
We always think we know what we are doing. The truth is, most of what we do is mindless. Our days are made up of habits and well worn routines. Not much thought goes into most of our days. (I am sure this is strange to hear.)
The difficult challenge for us is to break that mindlessness. What are we doing today – list them all – small, large, important, or imposed on us. You will be surprised at how many things will be on your list that doesn’t map to your longer term goals. Track your time for a week and you will be amazed how much you do (or don’t do).
Our next challenge is to force ourselves to get past our wishes and dreams and to try to verbalize & write down what outcomes you would like to enjoy in the next year. To have my house fully painted. To have learned how to make Greek potatoes. To have lost 20 lbs. And so on…… It’s only when we verbalize and make explicit what outcomes we seek can we then evaluate what we do each day.
Clarity then begins to appear when you begin to look at what you are doing today and building the habit of evaluating your busyness against what you now visualize as accomplishment 6 months or a year from now. Making slight adjustments. a bit more of your day will be dedicated to work that matters towards reaching the outcomes you desire. Helping you reach the accomplishments or outcomes you desire sooner.
With clarity in place, you can then revisit the lists, apps, tools, etc. and reconfigure them so that they help you in a much more effective way because you now understand what matters most to you.
I was guilty of thinking that apps and tools would make me more effective. I was wrong. I have made the changes I have outlined here. Using clarity as my friend, I now am beginning to see that I am becoming more effective at working towards the outcomes that make my life more meaningful and productive for me as I work through each of my days.