Activity or Impact?

Have you ever gotten to the end of your workday and felt like you were extremely busy, yet didn’t accomplish anything that really mattered? Ever notice that you spend more time playing defense and responding to everyone else’s needs (i.e. email), but don’t have time for your own priorities?  

Many of us start the day with a solid plan, task list and schedule…but often end the day frustrated and exhausted. When it comes to achieving success, there is a big difference between activity and impact. 

Two commitments

Long task lists can be overwhelming, and we drain our mental energy each time we try to decide what to tackle next. As a result, we end up looking for the false sense of productivity that comes from checking email or crossing off the easy tasks on our list.  

Try starting your day by spending 30 seconds identifying the two actions that will make the biggest impact on your goals – one personal, one professional. There are days my commitment is to simply ‘be present’ during a challenging meeting, or maintain my energy level during a busy day.  

Maintain energy

Despite the most effective prioritization and time management strategies, you won’t achieve true impact if you are constantly distracted and running on empty. We often consider self-care (sleep, healthy foods, exercise) as a luxury, and overlook the positive impact on energy and focus. It can be something simple like 2 minutes of meditation, taking a 5-minute walk, or having a salad for lunch that makes the difference between exhaustion and energy at the end of the day. 

Capture success

As the hours fly by, everything tends blend together into a whirlwind of emails, tasks and meetings. It is so easy to forget our achievements, successes and lessons. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to note the things you’ve completed or achieved can help you feel satisfied with your progress. It also provides short breaks throughout the day to reflect on our commitments and determine if we need to make adjustments to stay on track. 

Simple Change

Starting the day by identifying two commitments and capturing your results throughout the day can keep you focused on your priorities, and allow you to go home with a sense of success and progress. It takes less than 10 minutes per day, but can drastically improve your impact. What two commitments would make your day feel like a success? 

Author: Becky Jacobs, Chief Engagement Officer

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