[My daughter's picture from the Eden Project]
We set ourselves up for failure.
Our work is never finished.
There is always more to be done than we have time for, and even though, as we grow older, we may aspire for smaller gains, it is rare for a day to pass where we feel fully satisfied.
Stop and focus.
It is important in true Covey matrix style to work out the important from the urgent. For me, this means taking time away from the coal face, clearing my head and looking at the wall in front of me and working out the most advantageous route. Previously, I would just have gone for it but, nowadays, I tend to more thoughtful and pick my line.
It is important that you take time to think as, otherwise, you will be forever overwhelmed by your ever expanding list(s).
There are many systems on the market geared for productivity gains, but what you will find is that they will give you an expectation that you can achieve more. Some may well do so, but after a while, through slow creep, you will feel just as overwhelmed as before.
Perhaps the best idea is to focus on much, much less.
Less talk and more action;
We always seem to have too much on our mind. Those open loops that keep bugging the hell out of us. But ask yourself, how many of those things actually have to be done? What would happen, worst case scenario, if you simply didn't do them?
Rather than constantly looking for more, settle back and keep reminding yourself how much you have achieved. If you were to undertake an informal daily audit, you would be amazed how much you had crammed into the day.
Does doing lots of things make you happier?
I often find that I am much happier when I have excelled at something, than having crossed just another thing off my list.
I am not advocating that you change your sleeping habits (I have read far too many blogs recently where people talk about getting up at 4am; I would be much more impressed if they got up at 8am like most people). You need to do what works for you but I am firmly of the view, despite my tendency to go without enough sleep, that getting more sleep two or three times a week pays huge dividends. It makes you think much more clearly, and achieve more.
Whatever age you are, it is good to take stock of those things that might go into a bucket list. Have you spent time just working without enough focus on the more important things? If so, they will provide you with the balance that you need to make a difference in your life.
As we all know, life is what we make it. But don't let your incessant need for doing stuff, lead to your mental, spiritual and emotional burn out. No one likes to talk about these things but once in while it is good idea to unplug and just take time to do nothing. That could be the most productive thing you ever do.