Maybe the answer is “nothing.” If so, at least it’s a conscious choice. It’s a simple enough question, at first blush. In fact, it’s the question I use to make the most of my day. But there’s more to it.
The real question is, “What do you want to accomplish today? … given your available time, your available energy, your MUSTs/needs and/or wants?”
It invites you to think of your time budget for the day. How many hours do you realistically have? Actually quantify it – is it 10 hours? …. 4 hours? … 2 hours? You can only throw those hours at so many things.
It invites you to think of your energy. Do you feel like changing the world … or are you lucky if you have enough energy to just change your mind?
It invites you to consider your MUSTs and needs and wants for the day. What are the things you MUST or need to get done today, if anything? If you finish painting the mast, meanwhile while your boat sank, you missed something important. Using MUST can help you quickly identify the critical from the non critical. Note that when you actually do your MUSTs, shift to “Choose To” over “Have To” or “MUST” (it’s subtle but effective.)
If you’re in the habit of burning the midnight oil or pushing yourself too far, or wondering where your day went, this simple question, along with elaboration, can get you back on track. I use it at the start of my day, as a midway check, and throughout the day as needed. Simply reminding myself either that I only have so much time, or whether I’m exploiting my best energy, helps me improve my effectiveness in simple, but cumulative ways.
Photo by liza31337.