“Never mistake motion for action” – Ernest Hemingway

You may be doing a lot of work and not really getting anything done, at least not anything meaningful.  Faffing is a term I’ve used when presenting GTD.  Essentially it is the feeling you get at the end of the day when you have felt busy but realize you haven’t actually accomplished anything. Not a great feeling, huh?

In order for you to be purposeful in your productivity you need to step back and review, refine and re-align with why. Why is about your purpose and core values. It is the 50,000ft perspective in David Allen’s Horizons of Focus.  He clarifies it as “Ultimate intention for something, and the standards for its success. Why are we doing this? What are the critical behaviours?”

It’s Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind  from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. When we begin with the end in mind, we have a personal direction to guide our daily activities, without which we will accomplish little toward our own goals.

These are all well and good to quote, but don’t mean diddly-squat if you haven’t actually taken the time to stop doing things and start defining what your purpose, values and goals are.

Now’s the time to start. Schedule a couple hours this week to sit in a quiet area with no distractions and figure out the why.  You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What is important to you?
  • What do you care about?
  • What do you want in life?
  • When you have been most happy, what were you doing and where?

When you are done, keep the list close by. Use it during your weekly, monthly and yearly reviews. Update it when you feel it needs updating.  If you stay true to the list, you will stay true to yourself.