What moved the needle today?
This is the one question that helps me stay focused in the midst of all the projects I’m handling.
It’s easy to be busy. Really, really easy. Being busy is so ubiquitous that a term has been coined for work that keeps you busy but doesn’t actually have any value: busywork.
It’s far harder to be productive, to actually do something that means something, that contributes to your future wellbeing.
This is one of the reasons I hate long meetings with no agendas. It’s what I’d consider busywork.
I also don’t enjoy clients who tell me “just do first”, when I ask them about their goals and expectations. More often than not, I end up doing the work over and over again.
And although they might be retainer clients and I get paid, it doesn’t feel like a good use of my time.
While my question may be phrased in a way that assumes some kind of financial ROI, the value is not always monetary.
Sometimes the work involves setting down groundwork for something bigger. Sometimes it’s paperwork, or research or documentation.
But there’s a goal. And the needle moving means moving one step closer to reaching that goal.