Have you ever found yourself immersed in a project and suddenly realized that is was essentially worthless to you? Or maybe it wasn't worthless, but it wasn't supporting your most important goals? At times, we've all found ourselves busy with things that didn't directly contribute to either our bottom line, our wellbeing, or other desired outcomes.
It's incredibly easy to be busy, but being busy is not an indicator of success. In fact, it may actually be a success-deterrent. I'm sure you've met someone who was constantly on the go, but never seemed to accomplish or achieve anything of value. You know the type: always rushing (sometimes frantically so), stressed out, and often complaining that they have no time to exercise, eat right, sleep well, or have fun. There are many reasons why they could be that way, but if you ask yourself this one simple question, you can guarantee that you will stay focused on what is most important in your business and your life.
Whether you're starting a new project, introducing (or improving) a new product or service, writing a speech, creating a training program, or even starting a new business ask yourself this: "what do I want to accomplish with this project [product, task, etc.]?" This question can be asked in a variety of ways, but the key reason to ask yourself this question is to identify how a specific task (or series of tasks) contribute toward your goals. Once you understand this, you can determine how best to proceed; if you can't answer the question, whatever you're doing is probably a waste of your time.
You may have heard the popular phrase, "begin with the end in mind," but how many people use this as their way of being? Successful people know that anything worth doing has a definite goal at the end. Are you attending a training to hone your skills, network with like-minded professionals, or gain new knowledge? What specific problem is your new product or service going to solve for your client base? How is a new process or system going to streamline your internal operations? What is your exit strategy for starting a new business? What do you really want to achieve?
How often do you currently ask yourself these kinds of questions? When you start each new set of tasks with your end result in mind, you're more likely to be focused, efficient, productive, and as a result, profitable. Successful people do not spend their time doing "busy work;" instead, they prioritize tasks that move them closer to their desired outcome.
How would your workload be different if you only focused on things that directly affected your goals? How would that affect your personal life? Oftentimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, not realizing that the simplest solutions are often the most elegant and useful. When you are focused on this formula:
goal -> action -> result
you can save your most precious (and completely nonrenewable) resource: time. So, before you start any task, ask yourself, "what am I trying to achieve?" Or, even more simply, "why am I doing this?" I guarantee it will improve your results.
**For extra credit, get all of those who work for you to ask the same question--the results will astound you!