Over the past two weeks, I’ve had a masterclass in doing what matters most. My husband’s fall, which resulted in a broken leg and elbow and required surgery and hospitalization, was an extraordinarily effective catalyst that motivated me to critically examine my list of activities at the beginning of each day, choose the ONE item that was most important, and do it.
Whether it was filing a Worker’s Compensation form, or consulting with the medical team, or conferring with his employer, every action was guided by doing THE most essential thing first. It didn’t mean that nothing else got accomplished, but rather that there was an intense focus that I applied to putting everything on my list through a sieve, resulting in an equally intense clarity of what the next step had to be.
Some days there were two or three things that got done and some days there were ten or twelve things that got done. The evaluative process of what mattered most was continuous, and allowed me to give all of my attention where it was truly needed. I was reminded of the fallacy of “effective multitasking.” There is no way I could have produced the results I did if I had succumbed to the temptation to try and take on everything at once. Do one thing. Do it well. Move on to the next.
My husband will be coming home in a few days, and, though he’ll still need many more weeks of physical therapy before he can return to work, the critical nature of the past sixteen days will have passed. The big question for me is whether or not I will continue to challenge myself to engage this process in all aspects of my life. I’m a productive person as is, but I was blown away by the increase in productivity that I experienced by doing what matters most, over and over again.