Post written by Raymund Tamayo
When I was still working, I’ve learned that there are two kinds of tasks that were needed to be done.
First are the “Urgent” things, those that other people urgently need from me because of their lack of planning and organization. Second are the “Important” things: my own job description, office responsibilities, and tasks for my personal and spiritual growth.
Back then, I was easily swayed to and fro by urgent demands of irresponsible people. Because of that, what I do throughout the day was disorganized and out of focus.
Without a clear focus and direction, I always fall into the trap of other people’s interruptions and urgent requests.
The pressure I felt from the deadline imposed by others made me look for easy, little, and not so important tasks for a breather, making me leave the important work that I have to do unaccomplished.
What I’ve learned is to say “No” politely and assertively, and to not confuse activity with productivity.
Don’t confuse activity with productivity
If you will look at the most successful and the least successful persons you know, they most likely appear to be both working very hard. You may hardly notice the difference.
But doing something doesn’t mean one is being productive. In fact, I know many people who appear to be always busy, walking around the office and carrying lots of paper documents, looking lost and confused and tired, but don’t exactly accomplish anything.
Tips on Doing Things that Need to be Done
1. Prepare a list of the 5 things you want to get done. Leo Babauta suggests 3 MITs (Most Important Things) to do each day. But I find myself usually having 5. More than 5 will give you a higher probability of not completing them.
2. Do the hardest thing first. Examine your list and look for the most difficult task to do, the one you most want to “do later.” Usually it’s the most important thing. Better to start off with that and let the rest of the day become easier.
3. Stop procrastinating. This article from Live Bold and Bloom can help you a lot. Don’t be pressured by the expectation of success. Try to keep your mind off succeeding. The most important thing right now is to just do it. Success may naturally follow later.
4. Learn to say “No.” Our own health and wellness is more important than what others may say about us. When we can’t say No, we are not being true to ourselves, and that saps joy out of our life. There are simple ways to say No without feeling guilty.
If you want to get the important things in your life done – such as eating right, having consistent exercise, daily quiet time, completing a primary job description – practice these simple tips and experience the difference.
If you have more tips and suggestions, kindly share them in the comments. It will be very helpful. Thanks!