I’m sitting at my desk reviewing my TODO list. Most of my tasks are trivial…. They are easy, fun and distracting, but non important to my business. I have to pick up medicine at the pharmacy, shop for food at the grocery store, call the bank to ask a loan question, pay some bills, clean my desk and the list goes on. But why haven’t I added important activities/tasks to the list? The activity that makes me happy, generates income and impacts my life. Because I’m on auto-pilot and haven’t given it any thought. I also forget (at times) that staying busy does not fix business and personal overwhelm, it makes it worse
Most of us make TODO lists and give every item equal importance. We feel we have to clean off our TODO list to feel satisfied. What if I told you that completing one big project/activity per day is the same as completing five trivial activities? That’s an arbitrary comparison, but the point is valid. Becoming a “Master of the Trivial” will make you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, but gets you no closer to what you really want.
Just like priority management, the answer is simple but not easy:
(1) Make sure to add at least one block of focused time to every day: time when you are dedicated to those projects that make an impact such as long term goals, income generating initiatives or personal development goals.. Specific examples would be a client meeting, a business development meeting, preparing or executing key marketing activities, or preparing to write a book. If you can make each block of focused time one hour or more, you are winning. Often, smaller blocks of focused activity result in less distraction. Add multiple focused blocks to your day and you will significantly increase your productivity.
(2) Trivial activity needs a place, but should not interfere with your focused time. I always schedule trivial when I am the least alert or my clients are less available.
(3) Leave time for single minded relaxation or time off. If you take your phone to the movies with you and monitor client calls and emails, that’s not relaxation.
Becoming the Master of Trivial activity is not an award you should hang on your wall. Activity doesn’t equal productivity. You don’t always have to be motivated or stick to this regimen perfectly. Starting with block of focused time is enough to notice a benefit.