You know that feeling of overwhelm when you have 20+ things to do, but you’re not really sure where to start in order to make the maximum impact?
I know the feeling well.
I’ve always been a big fan of checklists, task managers, sticky notes – all that good stuff – because like most human beings, I like feeling accomplished. When I’m able to check something off my list, or look at a bunch of completed tasks from a week’s worth of hard work, I feel good – like I’ve truly made progress.
But recently, I decided to take a step back and ask myself what these checklists and sticky notes really mean. What does me feeling “accomplished” or like I’ve “made progress” really translate to in terms of:
- Impact for our audience, and
- Growth for our business?
That’s when it hit me: when I take a list of multiple to-do’s, and instead of prioritizing them and focusing on ONE at a time I dive in and start working on a few of them simultaneously (thinking that I’ll be able to get more done that way), I’m likely contributing to the noise.
Instead of taking purposeful action and focusing on ONE thing in order to get something done that has an actual result or end-goal tied to it, I’m simply doing things in order to check them off my list.
Suddenly, feeling accomplished and making progress felt a lot different to me (don’t get me wrong, I still love my checklists, task managers and sticky notes – there are productive ways of using these things!)
Creating purposeful content
If you’re currently working like this – or you’ve done something like this in the past – then I think we can both agree this system doesn’t work. Working on multiple things simultaneously just to “check them off the list” isn’t productive at all.
At least not in terms of creating meaningful content that actually serves a purpose.
When I stopped to think about all this, one question came to mind: How do we stop creating things that are only going to contribute to the noise, and instead start creating purposeful content, and using systems that not only help us feel accomplished, but that actually help us make an impact for our audience and result in growth for our business?
It comes down to being able to determine whether or not what you’re working on is contributing to the noise.
Are you contributing to the noise?
In order to help myself figure out whether or not I was working on tasks and projects that were simply contributing to the noise OR that were going to make an impact for our audience and result in growth for our business, I made a list of 3 questions I would ask myself every time I came up on a new task or project:
1. What is the end goal (or the purpose) of what you’re creating?
2. What’s the impact this task or project will have for your audience?
3. How is this specific task or project contributing to the growth of your business (or to your overall business goals)?
The great thing about these 3 questions is that they’ll not only help you determine whether or not something you’re working on is contributing to the noise, they’ll also helped you prioritize your tasks and projects based on the impact it’ll have for your audience and the growth potential for your business.
If you’re not able to answer these 3 questions to your own satisfaction (you’re your own worst critic!), then chances are whatever you’re working on is just adding to the noise – and this might be content, a system in your business, an unnecessary process, another “free” conversation with someone who should be paying you – the list goes on.
So next time you take out your list and you find yourself with 20+ things to do, ask yourself the 3 questions above for each task or project on your list to not only help you get rid of the noise, but also to help you prioritize them so you can start taking purposeful action on ONE of them today.