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Are You Focusing on the Right Things?

The following post is from Celestine of The Personal Excellence Blog: Are You Focusing on the Right Things?

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I invite you to spend a minute writing down 5 things you’re going to do today. These will be the 5 biggest things that take up the bulk of your time. They can be personal errands, work projects, family engagements, etc.

Next, draw the 2nd column next to these 5 things and assess their importance on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most important. If you have difficulty assessing whether this is important, ask yourself whether it makes a difference in 1 year’s time. If not, then put a 1. Does it makes a lot of difference to your life in 1 year, then rate it with a 5.

What scores did you get?

If you get a majority of 3s and below, it’s time to adjust your focus. Our time is precious, and if you are spending time on things that have average impact to no impact, you can’t expect to see huge improvements in the future. Here are 5 tips to focus on:

1. Do what matters

Your Quadrant 2 tasks matter. Quadrants 3-4 don’t. Working on your quadrant 2s is like planting a seed – you may not see the rewards immediately, but you know your efforts are paying off, and you will get the fruits of the labor in time. On the other hand, there are no long-term benefits from doing quadrant 4 tasks every day, like playing games on Facebook, channel surfing, etc. Do the things that matter.

2. Cut off the unnecessary

If it doesn’t make a difference, don’t do it. If it’s not serving any purpose, drop it too. That means removing meaningless engagements and letting go of unimportant details. Slice off the unnecessary so you have more time for the necessary ones.

3. Clarify your goals

What are your goals and dreams? Knowing your longer-term vision helps you evaluate whether you are doing the right things. People often do not do what matters because they do not know what they want to do. I have a client who keeps procrastinating on his work responsibilities, and we found out it’s because he had no goals that inspired him. We then worked on identifying his personal goals, which brought a renewed drive and enthusiasm. Get clear on your goals, and your focus will come back in.

4. Plan ahead

Planning lets you think about how you want to spend the time ahead so you can use it most effectively. Plan out your days and what you want to do. Even if they don’t pan out perfectly, you’d still be doing better than if you don’t have a plan at all.

5. Regular review sessions

The review brings accountability to your goals. If you’re regularly reviewing your actions and results, you’ll learn to focus on the important things to get the best results for your effort and time. My review sessions always give me a renewed focus afterward on what I should concentrate on.

Are you focusing on the right things? How do the tips above apply to you? Do you have your own tips to share on how to focus better? Please share below.

Celestine Chua writes at The Personal Excellence Blog on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her free ebook, 101 Things To Do Before You Die, now by signing up for her free newsletter. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua.

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