I had to write and publish this post, so that I may pop on your screen and into your mind when you least expect it. Done!
You… gotta pay that invoice, the dog needs a walk, the report is due, 3 emails in a queue and you’re a problem solver for the day. Kudos!
We’ve been taught over twelve years of school that’s how you measure your performance: how well you’re solving your to-do list. We were trained to expect positive outcomes when we get the job done, on time, and less desirables ones when we don’t.
Our brain is optimized for performance. So we trained ourselves to deliver on time, with the least effort invested. That’s because we don’t feel that all the items on the list are worth the time, or care that we’re capable of.
Why is that?
Many things that we don’t enjoy end up on our agenda. In the meantime, a walk with a friend, playing with your kid, making love, learning, and personal growth, contributing to a cause that makes you feel whole – these end up pushed to the bottom. And often, never end up on the list.
Is it just me — the stick, rather than the carrot ends up driving our daily focus? Fear, instead of vision and design, take hold and gears us towards what we came to define as success: getting the job done.
As soon as you sign up for a social network, it becomes one of the items on your list. Sure, it’s not written anywhere, but it does get a generous slot. Oftentimes, it’s the first. But is it the right one?
As a human, I came to question the wisdom of what we choose to prioritize in our to-do lists. As a designer, one of the items on my list is to help other people see that the things they care about belong on their lists. I ask my clients a lot of questions to surface motivation, authenticity, and uniqueness. That helps me build a solid bridge with their customers through the digital products and services that we end up building.
There is room for passion, patience, tolerance, listening, and exploring beyond the daily errands.
For each Yes we say when we make room for a new task, we end up saying a bunch of noes. Striking a balance is challenging, I know.
But, if all you’re doing are the jobs you’re used to doing, what are you missing out on?