These days, people are working more, and feeling more stressed — yet still have significant financial concerns and feel behind. Research conducted by Groupon has talked about how people perceive their work-life balance.1 Here are some of the findings:These days, people are working more, and feeling more stressed — yet still have significant financial concerns and feel behind. Research conducted by Groupon has talked about how people perceive their work-life balance.1 Here are some of the findings:
- 20% of the respondents said they worked 10 hours/day.
- 60% of the respondents said there wasn’t enough time in the day to do everything.
- 50% said workload was preventing them from work-life balance.
- 53% said they still had significant financial concerns.
- On a 1-10 scale, stress at home averaged a 5; at work, it averaged a 6.4.
That’s a lot of stress — but people still have financial concerns. What gives? How can we make this situation better?
Ask yourself a new question
Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project experimented with different techniques to help him organize and prioritize tasks. By modifying another productivity guru Brian Tracy’s approach, he arrived at this critical question:
“If you could just do one thing on a day, every day, what would you do that would allow you to accomplish the most with the same amount of time?”
When you’ve got the answer for yourself, repeat the question but in a slightly different way: “If you could do only two more things all day, what second and third tasks let you accomplish the most in the same amount of time?”
Not all tasks are created equal
There are certain tasks in any job that, for every minute you spend on them, you can now accomplish more on other tasks.
Consider a project manager. They should be designing project workflow. Checking email is less important or almost a distraction. Customer service support, though? They should be checking email — and answering phones.
Checking off many items on a list means nothing if nothing great was actually accomplished. This in some ways is the difference between “busy” and “productive.” When you’re spending time on things that matter, that is being productive. When you’re just checking off to-do list items, that oftentimes is just being “busy.” There’s no end game contribution.
But when you spend more time and energy on items of significance, you accomplish more in the same amount of time — and by definition you are becoming more productive.
Define your top priority task every day
By asking the critical question “If you could just do one thing on a day, every day, what would you do that would allow you to accomplish the most with the same amount of time?” you will be able to identify the most important task at the moment.
Once the top priority task is defined, review your work progress every day by asking these Did I get done what I intended to? Did I invest enough time, attention, and energy in the right things?
These questions will help you to evaluate your progress and it’s a self-check of whether you got distracted or remained focused on the most important things. This review also helps you to prepare a better plan for the next day.
It all begins with defining priorities and what is truly important. Almost every day is going to have a personal or professional task that needs to come first above all. Isolate that task and work on what matters most. Achieve significant greatness even if you ignore 40 emails.
Most of life is about defining priorities
Knowing your priority is the pathway to a more consistently successful version of self. Ask yourself the critical question to identify the one thing that matters most and design what you work on and focus towards around the answers. You are going to be more productive within days.