Successful creators agree: Choosing a goal is as important as working on it. Some tips for making your pick.
by Aitekin Tank
Mahatma Gandhi is known as the Father of the Nation in India. He was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. And he was, unsurprisingly, an extremely busy man. But every day, he walked about 18 kilometers (about 11.2 miles). He wrote countless letters. He took time out for his family. He ruthlessly stuck to his priorities.
In a 2012 Harvard Business Review story, Essentialism author Greg McCain writes about Gandhi’s grandson Arun, who grew up in South Africa. Being beaten up for being both too white and too black, Arun had a tough time, to say the least. He went to live with his grandfather, and as Arun later told McCown, Gandhi spent an hour every day just listening to his grandson. This proved to be a life-changing experience, as Gandhi preferred his family despite his historical work.
As CEO of my company, JotForm, this past year has certainly been challenging. With more than 300 employees and 9.1 million users, I’ve had to reevaluate the usual way of working and figure out how to prioritize competing business and family obligations. But as I’ve found, not sacrificing your personal life is the key to doing great work in the office.
For entrepreneurs, prioritizing can be difficult, but it is also important. as a bestselling author james clear Said, “Choosing a priority is as important as working on it.” Now, as employees around the world are rethinking their relationship with their jobs, this is perhaps more important than ever.
As we navigate these times of transition, here are some expert-backed strategies that have proven helpful to me.
RELATED: The Importance of Honoring Your Priorities
1. Start with the Obvious: Make a List With a Deadline
On busy days at JotForm, my to-do list can feel like a swarm of bees. Without a plan of attack, I could easily become anxious, and start to panic. In these situations, it is tempting to dismiss the quickest and most urgent matters without considering what is essential to business growth.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the busier you are, the more important it is to step back, and prioritize, starting with making a list of all your tasks. That way, you’ll know what’s on your plate. Add any deadlines to find out which items are urgent. Then, with a clear picture of what’s at stake, you can figure out which tasks to take, delegate or get rid of altogether.
2. Identify the Essential
How much time do you spend on activities that do not contribute to your professional advancement? Maybe a lot more than you think.
Researchers at Harvard Business Review found that knowledge workers spend an average of 41 percent on discretionary activities that provide little personal satisfaction and can be delegated to others. Imagine how much more your job would be accomplished, not to mention how much better your business would be if you could recoup some of that time.
The good news is this: Those same researchers found that by rethinking and shifting their jobs, employees can achieve a full day per week. It begins with identifying which functions are essential and which are of little value, which means “(a) not important to you or your firm and (b) relatively easy to drop, delegate or outsource “
Dedicate more time to essentials that really add value, and your work will be more rewarding and produce more results. Then, assign or delete the rest.
When I first launched JotForm, I spent most of my time setting it to fire when the user inevitably popped up. I was sure that I had a good product, but the development of the company has stalled. I knew something had to change. Over time, I was able to hire good people and delegate those daily user issues, which freed me up to think about bigger picture issues. Fifteen years later, my ability to continually reevaluate our priorities as well as our priorities as a company has made all the difference. It may require an initial investment of time but in the end, identifying your needle-wielding work will be worth it.
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3. Change your language
Small changes in the way we evaluate things can make a big difference.
That’s why Greg McCain recommends tweaking your language when it comes to your preferences. Instead of saying you have to do “something”, replace it with “I choose.” It’s a simple yet effective way to remind ourselves that most tasks aren’t non-negotiable—we determine what’s essential to our day.
Choices – indiscriminately finishing tasks and letting other people decide how you spend your time – will deprive you of growth, not to mention long-term satisfaction. It’s no secret that burnout is bigger than ever. Being proactive about how you approach your work and drawing boundaries where necessary is the key to preventing it.
4. Remove the Relationship Factor
In an ideal world, we would assess every request objectively, and decide what to devote our energy to accordingly. But in the real world, relationships do influence our decisions. Who is asking can be as weighty as what they are asking. We don’t want to disappoint our clients, bosses or partners, so we say “yes” – even if it’s not in our best interest.
To reverse this trend, McCain recommends separating the relationship from judgment and then choosing. If you have to say no, don’t fret, just figure out how to answer judiciously.
That doesn’t mean the relationship will never come to a decision—I’m more likely to say “yes” to a soccer game with my son than to a game of pick-up with my colleagues. But for me, time with my kids is very rewarding. Just like Gandhi’s busy day with his grandson.
The trick is not to let your people-pleasing instincts lead you to do something that doesn’t align with your broader set of priorities.
RELATED: 7 Ways to Refocus on What’s Really Important
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times