How Figuring Out Your Values Optimizes Your Time

I personally have a lot of ideas about a lot of things. I love coming up with new projects or possibilities for any number of things in my life, such as writing different books, starting more podcasts, or tinkering with procedures related to my work managing a residence hall. It is true that we can do whatever we put our minds to, but to really achieve greatness, I feel that we need to prioritize things and perhaps say no to ideas that come up. I’ve written before on productivity and motivation, which I think is a great companion piece to what I’ll share here. There are several benefits to figuring out what our values and goals are and then devoting our attention to these things instead of other stuff that doesn’t connect to these focuses. This can help us achieve more in the long run.

Here are some of the specific benefits of figuring out our values and goals when it comes to our productivity:

Gives you focus

We all have a lot of things that we have to do, and things that we want to do, but in order to not be overwhelmed or waste time on things we shouldn’t be spending time on, we need to focus. I know when I have fewer things on my to-do list, it helps to motivate me to get to work. Also, if something is on my list to do that is not connected either to my job or to my writing, podcasting, or my site, it doesn’t feel as compelling to do since it is sort of irrelevant to what I’m really focused on for myself. This is an important lesson for students especially since they’ll tend to pile on a lot on their plates in terms of involvements thinking that is better for them. I believe that it is better to have fewer, more meaningful experiences that you can really focus on versus just as many clubs, jobs, and whatever else will take you.

Helps you be more engaged

We all know the feeling of when we’re in the zone with a task that is really engaging us. It could be a creative endeavor or just logging data away for a project that is important to you. There has been a lot of talk about it recent years, “flow” as it is called, and how it is something we should all seek as much as we can in our lives. If we’re spending a bunch of our time on tasks and projects that aren’t challenging, utilizing our strengths, or bringing us joy, then we should reassess our priorities to either spend more time on other things or just take time to figure out something to do with ourselves. Some things we have to do, but anything that we can have some choice and control over devoting ourselves to should be delegated to someone else who may get more out of that endeavor than we currently are.

Minimizes stress and frustration

Everyone can agree that getting assigned a task that we do not want to do is a bummer. Ideally our teams would be maximized so we all get projects that utilize our strengths, are engaging, and fulfill us. Sometimes we can’t control this, but as much as we can, we need to make time for the things we want to make time for. Otherwise, we’re spending time on stuff that makes us frustrated, and then we’re stressed because we don’t have as much time to devote to the things we actually want to do. Minimize stress and frustration by focusing as much as you can only on projects and tasks that bring you joy.

It may seem counter intuitive, but spending time figuring out what you want to spend time on can end up helping us be more productive and efficient in the long run. Once you’ve figured out your priorities, just make sure to keep yourself organized so you don’t lose any positive momentum you achieve!