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Important People Are Busy But Unimportant People Are Not?

Important People Are Busy But Unimportant People Are Not?

We used to imagine the rich and successful to have lives of leisure. We saw them as people who took long, luxurious vacations, who ate at the best restaurants and enjoyed expensive hobbies. Their wealth and success meant that they were free to enjoy their time exactly as they liked, and no longer were forced to work stressful, long hours like the rest of us.

However lately, that image seems to have reversed. Today we seem to imagine the rich and successful to be always incredibly busy and overworked.
Indeed, research has shown that some are beginning to view a hectic overworked lifestyle as a symbol of status.[1] As something to work towards, and not away from. Excessive free time is no longer seen as the domain of the rich and successful, but the domain of the lazy.

But why is this?

The Perception of Being Busy

Somewhere during the 20th century, more and more of us began to prioritize work in our lives above all else. Such prioritization meant that we no longer kept to traditional 9-5 working hours. It is assumed that the more hours a person puts into their work, the more they must be earning. With the more money being earned, the more successful a person seems to be.

What is strange, as evidenced by the earlier mentioned study, people want to look like they are earning well through working hard, even if that isn’t the case. Its similar to how some people buy fake designer watches, they want to look successful, even if they aren’t. As such, if you’re not busy, far from it implying that you can afford to have free time, it only implies that you have nothing to do.

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    The effect of this view is that people may find themselves working long, tiring hours for little reason. Taking up jobs they don’t need to do

    But really, working hard for long hours often has little to no correlation with success. In fact, it often implies the opposite or multitasking just for the sake of multitasking. Really, multitasking and working long hours often has little or no correlation with success. After all, ask as single mother with two kids and three jobs and see if she feels rich and successful.

      Ultimately, doing one thing well is a lot better than doing a lot of things poorly. Multitasking, instead of making you smarter, more productive and more successful, actually has the opposite effect, it makes you stupid.[2] It is actually decreasing your IQ by ten points at times, which may have the additional effect of making wealth and success harder as you’ll be building it from bad work.

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      Are You Busy-holic?

      Being busy for the sake of being busy only means that you’re spending your time for nothing.

      When you’re busy, your mind is being overwhelmed by a constant barrage of information. The human mind is simply not good at functioning effectively when it is forced to deal with so much information.

      A professional musician spends their time in a state of constant practice. Their skill and knowledge is always developing and increasing. They work in ways that are cognitively demanding but satisfying. However, “knowledge workers”, people who work in fields like tech or business, lack this and instead spend their time doing work that is repetitive, and doesn’t really test us. As such they fill their time trying to do as much of this work as possible, without reason. The work is ultimately shallow.[3]

      Improve Your Worklife

      Most of the time when people are working, they aren’t involving themselves in tasks that require much thought. If you work in ways that require deep thought, instead of being tired and overwhelmed by the constant desire to work unnecessarily, people will enjoy these three key benefits:

      • We will see continuous improvement in both the quality and value of our work output.
      • A notable increase in the quantity of well produced work.
      • Deeper satisfaction with work and the work you have produced.

      The desire to work unnecessarily, overwhelming yourself in pointless tasks and long hours comes from a lack of satisfaction in your work itself. But how do you find such satisfaction?

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        The key to this is to try and figure out what your key purpose of life is, what your true passion is. Don’t worry if you don’t know this at the moment, we have you covered. Here is a Lifehack article all about this.

        Once you have identified what it is you are passionate about it. Consider following these three steps:

        1. Prioritize

        Time is not infinite. Each second that goes by is a second that you will not get again. So, why spend your time focusing on things that you aren’t passionate about.  Find your passion and work on it!

        I understand that many people have jobs that don’t interest them. However, say you work from 9am-5pm, that still leaves you many hours free to spend doing things that you are passionate about. This is only the case of course if you don’t spend your free time multitasking or accepting jobs unnecessarily. You will find spending this time on your passions to be far more rewarding than wasting time on pointless work.

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        An effective way to make the most of this time is to start scheduling and organizing your time very specifically. In this way you’ll be able to spend each second of your day as efficiently as possible. For more information about freeing up and reclaiming your time, I recommend you take a look at this article, it’s full of lots of great advice about freeing up your time for productivity.

        2. Minimize

        In scheduling, you might find that there are many tasks that you have to accomplish, but are ultimately not related to your ultimate goal. In tackling these jobs, consider which ones play to your skills and abilities the best then tackle those first. Its easier to enjoy things that you are good at, and if you can delegate the remaining tasks to others who may be better suited to those tasks. Then don’t be afraid to ask.

        If you do have to complete these tasks, consider putting aside a maximum amount of time to spend on them in your schedule. In this way, these tasks won’t end taking up time unnecessarily.

        3. Eliminate

        This third step is probably the most important. When looking at the many tasks and jobs you have to complete each day, ask yourself “how important is this?” and “what would happen if I didn’t do this?” about each one. If you think any of these are unimportant, and nothing particularly bad would happen if you didn’t complete them. Then simply cut them out of your day. Where you once may have spend a few precious hours on these tasks, you will get this time back for you to spend how ever you wish.

        If you follow the above steps, you should immediately find yourself becoming more satisfied with your life and your work. What’s more, by identifying your purpose and freeing time up time for it, you’ll increase your chances at success because your time won’t be spend on unnecessary and time consuming work.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on November 3, 2020

        How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

        How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

        It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

        The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

        Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

        Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

        What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

        The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

        Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

        “Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

        This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

        There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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        Eisenhower Matrix Template

          The quadrants are:

          • Do
          • Schedule
          • Delegate
          • Eliminate

          Do

          Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

          Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

          Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

          Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

          Here’s a practical example.

          Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

          Schedule

          The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

          They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

          You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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          Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

          Delegate

          The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

          These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

          You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

          You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

          Eliminate

          The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

          Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

          They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

          Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

          Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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          Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

          Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

          “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

          How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

          Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

          1. List and Rank Your Priorities

          Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

          Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

          2. Define the Value

          The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

          You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

          3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

          Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

          Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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          If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

          4. Know What’s Important to You

          As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

          Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

          Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

          “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

          5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

          YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

          Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

          Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

          6. Know When to Stop

          You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

          Conclusion

          It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

          Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

          More Tips on Prioritizing

          Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

          Reference

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