“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.” —Isocrates
Have you ever treaded water? Maybe when you were learning to swim or when they made you try water polo in High School? It’s HARD. I mean you are in the water vigorously moving your arms and legs trying to stay afloat. Lots of movement and activity but you’re not actually getting anywhere. You’re more or less in the one spot, burning energy.
This is all well and good if you are waiting for the ball to come to you but it’s more likely you have to chase the ball. For you to get the ball, you’ll need a different strategy.
First decide where you need to be and then start swimming towards that place. It’s a coordinated movement with a goal in mind. This will eventually get you to the location you decided upon before you started swimming.
It’s the same in a work environment. We’re all so busy these days. Busy with this thing and that thing and checking the emails and moving in this direction and that direction.
So much activity and so little achievement. If a water polo player kept swimming in one direction for a bit and then in another direction and then changed again, they would look like they are very active but wouldn’t really get anywhere.
The best way to achieve something big or small is to stop for second, decide where you want to go (or what you want to achieve) and only then start swimming / working towards that goal. Sure you may have to dodge left or swerve right, maybe do a duck dive, but if the goal is always front of mind then the reaching the destination is almost always assured.
Too many times you see people who are busy busy and stressed all the time. Choose the most important thing you need to do right now, only do that until it’s done and then choose the next most important thing to do. This strategy will bring a certain sense of peace and achievement to your working life. It certainly has to mine.