True Change Today

How to Pursue Work that Matters

Being busy and being productive are two different things. 

I’m convinced that most work isn’t important, and most small businesses fail because entrepreneurs insist on spending time on assumed requirements of being in a business, instead of actual necessities and focusing on work that matters and yields desired outcome. 

 

Most truths in life are simple, and it’s the same with work:

Without doing the work that matters, all other stuff you’re being busy with doesn’t matter.

This is Pareto’s principle or the 80/20 Rule 20% of the activities will result in 80% of the results. This 20% is the work that matters, the rest is not. Basically, you can eliminate almost 80% of activities that are unnecessary in a lot of cases. Imagine how much free time you can get back. Free time you can use how you want.

80% of activities and rituals the normal business routine requires, which I disagree with are:

  • Sitting at a desk from 9-5 even if you got the important work done in 2 hours of focused work just to look productive
  • Checking email 50 times a day
  • Holding meetings to make decisions
  • Responding to every blog comment whether or not it’s relevant or even requires a response
  • Answering phone outside of business hours
  • Out of town conferences that won’t give you any special knowledge
  • Networking events without a specific purpose
  • Unnecessary paperwork
  • Online and offline courses not related to your niche
  • Unnecessary calls, events, and meetings with clients

Now, of course, I can’t tell you exactly what your personal work that matters is, as important work is specific and different for everyone. It also varies from industry to industry. I just want to point that time spent working doesn’t necessarily equal creating work that matters

For example, this post will take me approximately 1 hour to write, and another 30 minutes to edit. Now, I could choose to spend the rest of my day tweaking this post or checking email and social media 50 times. But that wouldn’t matter. Either this post is good or it’s not. 10 more hours of fidgeting around it won’t fix it if it’s bad. 

It’s the same with emails, I don’t check them every 30 seconds. I check them once or twice a day and then answer all of them during 5 to 10 minutes of focused time.

Empty Hours

I think people invent unnecessary work because they’re terrified of empty hours. They feel uncomfortable when they have nothing to do, and that’s why most of us spend all day hitting the refresh button waiting to react to each new message as soon as it hits the inbox.

It’s easier to have meaningless meetings and ask questions we already know the answer to or go to out-of-town conferences to network when all those people are just a click away from us. All these activities are filling those empty hours so we feel busy and productive.

In reality, we are just wasting precious time on work that doesn’t matter.

How to Pursue Work that Matters: Being Bored Begets Life-Changing Ideas

Try this little experiment:

Don’t do anything for a week or two. Clear your schedule until only a void remains. Literally, do nothing but eat, drink and sleep. Be bored and see how many ideas come to you

At the end of the week (or two), pick the least complicated idea which resonates most with you and your values, and then execute that idea and no other. Usually the ideas that come to us when we’re bored are the ones that change the world. 

 

But really, work on this idea until you actually finish it. Don’t abandon it when it gets hard (it surely will), or you get bored. If you can stick with it until it’s done, you’ve experienced doing the work that matters.


When you experience doing the work that matters you won’t want to go back to your old modus operandi. You’ll start to change the way you work and over time these changes will take you to the next level. Soon, doing non-important work will be a thing of the past and you’ll travel to your best self at the speed of light, compared to other people.

 

I encourage you to try the experiment above, not just read it and forget it, but really try it. People today move at a blinding speed. They’re mostly doing nothing, but they do nothing very quickly. Traveling at a slower pace is incredibly difficult when everyone around you is running like a madman.

 

If you can’t take one or two weeks to do nothing, then try to do it for just 15 minutes today, and slowly work up until you can do it for longer. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. Be in silence, be bored, and do nothing. Ideas that matter to work on will come when you least expect it – not when you’re busy, but when you aren’t distracting yourself.

 

Cheers!

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