Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Not all projects are created equal. Yet many of us routinely pile things onto our already over-full plates without stopping to consider if the project needs to be done at all, or if you are the best person to do it.
And just because we are all individuals, each person must have individual standards about if a project is worth doing. Here are two ways that I look at projects:
Two Methods For Determining Worth
Do I Need To Do This?
By examining the words in the above sentence, I can judge if the project is mine and worth doing. For instance:
Do I Need to Do This?. This looks at whether I am the best person for the job. For instance, I can run wires and do household wiring, but it is much better if an electrician does it.
On the other hand, when it came time to put up valances on our windows, we had the choice of buying or making. Since we had a difficult time with the one window we purchased for, I chose making because I was able to get exactly the fabric I wanted in the size I wanted.
It turns out there is very little in life that only I can do. Most things can be outsourced. It’s just a matter of looking at the pros and cons of outsourcing vs.
Do I Need To Do This? This question looks at whether a task really needs to be done or not. Many things that fill our lists actually make no difference when we’re done, other than to give us one more thing to cross off. Decide what you need to do, and what is being imposed on you by others.
Do I Need to Do This? This is where simplification and casting off the way we were taught comes in. Sometimes we do things out of habit, or because we were taught it was the right way.
There is an old story about a young bride who cut off the ends of the roast before cooking them. When asked why, she said that her mother always did it that way. When her mother was asked, the mother replied she did it because she didn’t have a pan big enough for the roast.
Sometimes we are going too far in what we are doing. There is a level of ‘good enough’ where anything effort beyond doesn’t yield results that.
This method is much more subjective. You evaluate the project against four areas, and decide if the cost is worth the effort:
Physical. When you think of doing the project, do you notice anything physically? Does it make you feel excited? Nervous? Anxious? Do you have enough physical energy and strength to meet the demands of the project?
Emotional. Does the project seem like it would bring happiness and joy? Or sadness?
Spiritual. Is this project one you would be proud of when you are done?
Temporal. Do you have time for this project? (really look). Will this project end at some point? How much time will be required, and what are the things you will have to give up to do it?
Once you have looked at the four criteria, you will have a good gut-level feeling about whether or not you should do it.
Remember that just because it appears on your list, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Pick out the things that are worthwhile, and you will be much more productive than doing a bunch of things that have no meaning.
Photo by Margaret Anne Clarke