The only way we really increase our productivity is by choosing what to spend our time on. Prioritization is what makes scrum teams more effective, and prioritization is the most important part of time management.
Do the right things for the right reasons.
And, the only way to do the right things, is to decide that some things are the wrong things to do.
We don’t have unlimited time. Adding a task to your already full to-do list will cause the list to be too long, and one of the items won’t get done.
The only way to spend your time on the right tasks, is to know what those tasks are, and then to say no to all of the others that are competing for your time.
Say no to the right things.
It’s ok to say no. This is not, “no never”. But, “no, I’m not doing that, not today, or maybe not this week.” I might change my mind in the future, but I’ve decided that I don’t have desire to do x, so I’m not going to waste my time on x.
Say no to stuff that doesn’t align with your goals.
Re-evaluate what those goals are and re-check if the items are still in alignment. When there’s a conflict, re-evaluate what your goals really are.
Continual re-evaluation of what motivates you to prioritize certain tasks over others is the key to growth and not repeating past mistakes.
Question what you do and the reasons for it. Question the process that surrounds any given task. How could you be living your life differently? The rewards could be more time to spend doing what you really want to do. Or perhaps you’ll discover your true motivations.
It’s a wonder how many times we continue to do something just out of habit or “because that’s the way it’s always been done.”
A relevant quote from Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat:
Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried
— Song lyrics – Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat