Create a Compass for Purposeful Productivity

When you make decisions about what tasks to do on any given day, how do you do that? Do you carefully plan out your day based on clearly defined goals? Or, do you get up and just handle whatever comes at you?

In a world of ever increasing complexity, opportunities and distractions it’s so easy to drift along and grab on to the next wonderful possibility that comes along. Even people who do not have a diagnosis of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) can feel like they do have the diagnosis because it’s so easy to bounce around responding to the onslaught of information and technology that comes at them on a daily basis. If you aren’t intentional about choosing how you spend your time, you are at high risk of finding yourself with a life you never really wanted.

Recently I gave a seminar, “Organizing for Productivity and Success”.* I told the attendees that choosing the things they keep in their home, the tasks they do and how they spend their time should be based on what matters to them, those goals and values to which they are committed. It was obvious by the blank stares I got from some of those seminar participants that they had not thought of clutter clearing and time and task management in that way.

Are you completely conscious of what matters to you? I believe that it’s the norm to hit the floor running each day to do the next thing on our to-do list without pausing to think about whether what we are doing is in alignment with our big picture of what really matters to us. We do things because they have always been done that way. We do them because someone else thinks we should. We do them because we think we should. But, if we do those things, will we get what we really want?

I think we’ve learned to put the cart before the horse. The cornucopia of activities available to us, the press of excessive responsibility and an almost obsessive need to get things done so we can avoid losing control drives us into a state of unconsciousness about what’s going on in our own hearts.

It’s time to slow down, go inside and get reacquainted with yourself and what really matters to you. It’s easy to float along with the crowd that is doing the next best thing out there. It may be easier, but in the long run it’s riskier. It takes courage to put on the brakes, pull in and get clear about your heart’s desires. If you do that, you could get behind. You could get off track. But, when you are on autopilot are you sure you’re really on track, your track?

Make the time to stop, have a cup of coffee or tea, and create a list of those things that are most important to you. For example, what really matters to me is to have a happy, healthy and growing relationship with Bob, my husband, to be financially free, to travel and have adventures, to do work that makes a difference in our world, to be healthy and continually learning, to maintain loving and healthy relationships with family and friends, and to have and maintain a lovely and comfortable home and yard. This list may not be complete, but it hits the high points. It is my guide when I get lost in the swirl of possibilities of things to do and have in our world that seems to value productivity over relationship, doing over being, and speed over stillness.

Next, evaluate whether the things you have around you, the tasks you have been doing and how you’ve been spending your time are in alignment with your list. Post your list in a place where you see it often, where it can serve as your compass when life takes over and you find yourself lost in your busyness. Use it as your guide to getting the the “right” things done, tasks that support you getting more of what you really want in life.

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