Face It: You’ll Never Get Everything Finished

17/10/2012 |

Think back to a moment in your working life when there was nothing more to possibly do that day.

It’s probably very hard to think of that situation in recent times; there’s always a bit more business development, a bit of clearing the decks, a bit of catching up on reading or housekeeping.

You’re probably casting your mind back to one of your first jobs, where perhaps you worked in a bar and at the end of a long shift, you could all mop down the floors, close down the bar and sit down with a beer, rejoicing in a good night’s work and the satisfaction of completion.

Completion is a great feeling, isn’t it?

The satisfaction that you’ve achieved something, and that it’s completely done and gone is psychologically thrilling. The other reason completion is satisfying is that it naturally gives way to clear space. Psychologically, clear space helps provide perspective, a brief recovery from the frenetic pace of life and time to re-evaluate our priorities.

The trouble is, the modern work paradigm gives us so little sense of completion or clear space that it feels like we’re constantly staring at the light at the end of a long, long tunnel. And when the light at the end of the tunnel approaches, you realise it’s just some nasty bloke with a torch bringing you more work to do.

Hamster in a wheel


There’s a new game now, with completely new rules.

Put simply, skillful attention management is the new key to productivity, and how well you protect and use your attention determines your success.

There are some mortal enemies standing in your way, though: stress, procrastination, interruptions, distractions, low-value commitments, annoying work practices – the list of things that get in the way of you focusing your attention onto what really matters goes on and on and on.

It’s time to think like a Ninja

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