Why Am I Busy Without Getting Anything Done? Do this for 10 minutes every day and you will transform your life

If I work longer I will get more done. 
If I get more done I will make more progress.

It is hard to argue with the simplicity of this reasoning. You need to complete tasks to reach your goals, and you can obviously complete more tasks in 8 hours than you can in 2 hours. 

I have a friend who has been very successful with this formula. He has studied for three years to earn a bachelor’s from Ross School of Business. He then worked 16-hour shifts for weeks during an internship at Barclays Capital, which landed him a full-time job offer with a substantial salary. 

Mission accomplished!

Until he realized that what he really wanted was to become a Navy SEAL. He has now turned down his plans of a finance career and will instead spend the next year building his strength and stamina. 

We are so obsessed with being busy. Doing something. Anything. But we seldom stop to ask: “At the end of the day, will this work matter?”. A more accurate formula for productivity would be

Work Completed Value of Work = Value Created

When the value of your work is zero, you eventually have to trash everything and start over. If you work 90-hour weeks to get a job offer for a career you will never pursue, it is just waste. If you do anything that does not get you closer to the life you want, it is waste. 

True productivity is about increasing the value of your work. This is done by reflecting on your work. This habit of reflecting, to find ways to work smarter instead of harder, is what distinguishes the most high-performing individuals from the rest. When was the last time you paused to ask: 

  • Does this project really matter?
  • What value problem am I trying to solve here?
  • How will I know if I am successful?

We typically view such quiet thinking as waste because we do not have any tangible results to show for it. It seems so unproductive. 

Until we realize that we are already wasting 40% of our days on meaningless work and that we should have made a switch five months ago. 

If you want to give the habit of reflecting a try, then follow these steps: 

  1. Take out your phone. 
  1. Set a repeated alarm to sound 10 minutes before you go to bed every day. 
  1. When the alarm goes off, sit down somewhere quiet with no distractions. Have a pen and paper at hand or a blank document open on your computer. 
  1. Let your mind drift to whatever area of your life that you feel most needs your attention right now. To get you started, here are some questions you might ask yourself:
  • What problems have I not given enough attention to? 
  • Why did I decide to start on this path? 
  • Is this path going to get me to where I want? 
  • What problem am I trying to solve with this project? 
  • Is there a better way to get the same result? 
  • How will I know if I am successful?

Capture your thoughts in writing.

  1. When 10 minutes are up, you may stop. 

Reflecting 10 minutes a day is arguably the most productive habit you can adopt. Unless you give yourself space to think, you continue operating in the same limited universe. Until you know what matters, the only way you can achieve greater results is by sacrificing more of your time. Your time becomes the commodity by which you bargain with life. 

Would 10 minutes of daily reflection be worth it to you?

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