How to get work done? Avoid unnecessary tasks.
Urgent tasks can pop up and take attention away from the genuinely important things, Hamm writes. There are a few ways to avoid the needless distractions.
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Third, I don’t go into the family room if I need to get things done. I just simply don’t go in there because there are too many distractions between the electronic devices and the television. In fact, I basically only go in there about once or twice a week, and then it’s specifically so that Sarah and I can watch a program we’ve been planning on watching or it’s for a family movie night.Skip to next paragraph
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If you have a location that just distracts you, only go in there when you’re completely fine with being distracted from things.
Fourth, if I’m tired, I focus solely on resting. If I do important things when I’m tired or heavily distracted (which is usually a subtle symptom of being tired), I know that I don’t do them very well. I might do low-focus tasks when I’m tired (like loading the dishwasher or something), but if I’m tired and I’m just facing genuinely important things, I will go meditate or get some exercise or take a nap.
If I force myself to work when I’m tired, my work output is terrible. I make very slow progress and often that progress is of low quality. Simply put, I’m wasting my time when I make myself do it. I’m much better off simply using my time of sharpest focus for the important things and offloading less important and less focus-oriented things to times when I’m tired.
Finally, if I feel like a regular responsibility is eating up too much of my time, I admit it to myself and look for alternatives. I’m on multiple community committees and have several different offices and responsibilities. At various times, I have felt overwhelmed by them and I’ve felt that they’re getting in the way of other things that are more important in my life.
When that’s happened, I’ve openly admitted it. I’ve told others that I am actively looking to step down and I seek out a replacement. I would rather do a few things well than many things poorly. It takes guts to say that you want out of a worthwhile organization or responsibility, but when you’re making choices wheresomething of importance is going to lose out, you need to be willing to step away.
I try as hard as I can to avoid unnecessary or unimportant tasks, even if they seem really urgent. This leaves time for the things I consider very important – my family, the core hobbies I’m most passionate about, my close friends, my core work, and so on.
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