You want to be more productive? Ask yourself this question every day.


I get it. You’re incredibly busy. You have way too much to do and not enough time to do it. You’re getting things done but wonder if you’re doing enough.

Take a breath. Stop worrying about how much you’re not getting done.

The truth is you’ll never get it all done and it doesn’t matter. Being productive isn’t about how much you do, it’s about doing what’s important.

Take a look at your to-do list for today. All the calls and emails, the errands, the work that is on deadline. Lots of things you have to do and you will get most of them done.

Because you have to.

You’ll file that motion because it’s due. You’ll make that call because the other guy is waiting. You’ll write that letter because you want to settle the case.

But what about the important things you don’t have to do? Things that will advance your career or improve your life but don’t have a deadline or someone else waiting or watching?

This is the sweet spot in your growth. This is where you advance towards your long term goals. This is where you find your purpose instead of just taking care of your obligations.

Every day, when you write down your to-do list, I suggest you ask yourself this question:

“What is the most important thing I can do today that I don’t have to do?”

Your answer may be “to start exercising” because you want to get in shape. It’s important but you don’t have to do it. Now, at least you are aware of what’s important.

If you ask yourself that question again tomorrow and you get the same answer, you might pick up that exercise book you bought three years ago and put it on your desk. The next day you might actually read the first chapter.

It might be six months before you do your first push up or register for that hot yoga class, and that’s okay. You may never have done it if you had not asked yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today that I don’t have to do?”

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