One of the things we’re taught growing up—or even when we begin our careers—is how to be productive.
But too often we find ourselves getting caught up with tasks that have little impact on our wallets or well-being. We’re spending too much time shifting gravel around by hand, when we could be shoveling our way to a better future!
Design Your Life On Purpose
So, what’s the key to ending the madness?
Becoming outcome-focused. And channeling all your energy into your biggest goals.
The Four Task Categories
To understand why you aren’t more productive, let’s consider the four “task” categories in your life that take up your time:
Task Category #1: Urgent and important to you.
By this, I mean anything that must be addressed in a timely manner and has value to you. These are work assignments that generate income or rescuing a pet before he walks into oncoming traffic. These tasks are of the highest priority.
Task Category #2: Not urgent, but important to you.
Here I’m describing tasks that encompass everything you value. Maybe it’s spending quality time with your partner or children, paying yourself first or setting up an emergency savings account. Because these tasks aren’t urgent, they too often get neglected. Even though this is where you should be spending the majority of your time.
Task Category #3: Urgent, but not important to you.
These tasks are critical to someone else but aren’t critical to your immediate health, happiness or prosperity. They are usually someone else’s urgency put onto you, but you actually accept and take them on. They can manifest as a salesperson who is calling you to sell you something or an email that pops into your inbox that you respond to. When you make the decision to answer the phone or read the non-urgent email, you’re allowing yourself to get sucked into putting time into this task category.
Task Category #4: Not urgent and not important to you.
Browsing gossip sites, spending time on social media… these are the nonessential time-sucking tasks that grab your attention, possibly precisely because you’re burned out.
Boost Your Productivity
Understanding the four types of tasks in your life gives you the tools to boost your productivity, but there’s one more step. These three tips will help you allocate and control how you respond to tasks.
Tip #1: When you begin your week, make a list of all tasks in category #1 that you need to accomplish. These tasks should take priority over all others.
Tip #2: Find a way to spend less time on tasks in the #3 and #4 category. Let your phone go to voicemail and only check it a couple of times a day. Shut off your email, social media, text and any other notifications that disrupt your concentration with chiming and buzzing. Making less time for tasks that fall under category #3 or #4 will focus and renew your energy.
Tip #3: Prioritize the tasks that fall under category #2. Doing what’s important to you gives you a much better sense of purpose and happiness than those in any other category. You become more productive, and less stressed, when you remove the urgencies in your life!
The key to better productivity is spending less time bogged down with tasks that don’t provide the outcomes you want. If you find yourself struggling to let go of non-urgent, non-important tasks, consult with a financial or productivity expert.
What is the first action you’ll take to start designing your life on purpose? Share with us in the comments below!
Dr. Tony is the co-founder of MindShift.money and the best-selling author of three books on personal and business finances. Having achieved Financial Freedom at 27, Dr. Tony believes that through Financially Fit Bootcamp and Cash Flow Cure everyone can get there. He has made it his life’s mission to help others live a life where their money works for them—not the other way around.