Do you ever do something because you’re secretly afraid that if you don’t you’ll miss out on something that’s important?
Think, for example, of the things you’ve done after you realized that you just wasted a few hours.
You know what that’s like.
You decide that today will be different.
No more wasting time.
And just as you sit down at your desk, you remember something you wanted to find out from yesterday.
And because it’s trivial, you tell yourself that it will only take a trivial amount of time to do it.
Two or three hours later, when you suddenly realize that you have to be somewhere, you also realize that you’ve spent the time you’d set aside to work on trivial things.
And then you remember that this is a pattern.
You’ve done this before.
How could you let that happen?
It has happened to me.
The problem is that we equate the triviality of the activity with the time it takes to engage in it.
And the truth is that the time in which we engage in that trivial activity is of far greater value than the activity itself.
How do you decide if something is worth doing right now?
You have to ask yourself what your goal is for that time.
If your goal was to read the news, then read the news.
If your goal was to read email, then read email.
But if your goal was to record an hour of training, then don’t use it to read the news.
When you do that, no matter how trivial it may seem, you’re using your most valuable time to do something that doesn’t matter.
Why do you do something trivial when you should be working?
It’s because you are afraid that you’ll miss out if you don’t.
It’s a lie that society tells us, and that we fall for time and time again.
What’s the antidote?
It’s to plan your time in advance.
I like to do this just before I quit working for the day.
Sometimes I’ll plan a few days in advance; others only for the next day.
There are no rules for how to do this.
The advantage to planning, however, is that when you get to your desk, you only have to look at your list to see what to do next.
If you don’t plan, or you haven’t written down specific things that you will do, then you’ll drift
You’ll drift into your inbox, your favorite news or social media sites, or other places that are unrelated to your work.
Think of it like this.
All of the email that you’ve received will still be there when you do finally open your inbox.
The comments that your friends have made in social media will still be there when you log in.
Whether you look at what’s been shared right now or in 12 hours will make no difference.
Unless the person who posted it takes it down, those things will still be there, too.
You don’t have to leap onto those sites as soon as you turn on your computer for fear that they may all disappear.
And what about the news.
Rarely does much change from one day to the next.
Unless what the news channels have to tell you impacts you personally or you are in a position to do something about the results, none of it matters.
Maybe you’re one of those people who likes to remain “informed.”
Think about it.
Why is that so important?
In truth, it doesn’t matter.
Not one bit.
It’s not as though you’re living a hermitical life.
You’ll pick up what’s important just by being around other people.
But, you don’t have to waste time learning it firsthand.
You’re not missing out.
You’re not missing out on anything.
In fact, the news is nothing more than entertainment – poor quality entertainment at that.
So stop watching it.
You’ll find that the longer you avoid it, the less important it will become.
And then on the odd occasion when you do read a “story” it will seem even more trivial to you than it did before.
What do you miss out on when you are distracted by trivia?
You miss out on doing what you need in order to make progress in your business.
You miss out on the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished what you had decided to do.
You miss out on feeling good about yourself.
What have you missed out on today?
What did you do yesterday that prevented you from doing your work?