At the end of the day, did it matter?
Well, did it?
When you went to sleep last night, did you consider your day successful? If so, by what standard? You see, we can spend our days agonizing over emails, talking for hours with a feisty client, running errands around town or updating our Facebook profile - all of which may need to get done - but were you able to do something that matters to you?
Measure your day against your metric for a successful day and see what you come up with.
Less is more
Perhaps there are ten things that you could be doing that actually matter. That's great! But don't try to tackle them all in one day. Give yourself a list of three items. The first item being the most important - if you make headway on only this item, consider your day successful. The second and third items should be secondary and tertiary items that still matter and you'll get to if you can. Define these three action items at the beginning of each day. Here's a great system for doing just that.
Having trouble making that list of three important action items? Finding clarity can be difficult, but here's a great place to start. It'll walk you through the questions that drill deep into who you are, what you want and how you can serve the world. It's the first step to crafting your identity.
First things first
It makes sense doesn't it? That the most important thing that you could possibly spend your time on today should be the first thing you spend time on today? So before you dive into all of the valueless minutia of life, take care of #1. The reason - beyond being completely logical - is because we only have so much willpower and decision making energy in the day and every project you work on before your #1 is slowly eating away at that stamina.
When you finish that #1 action item, the rest of the day feels like lagniappe! It's such a relief to know that you've won so early on in the day. If you've completed that task and still have time left in the day, here's The 5 Minute Rule and Other Hacks to Getting Things Done.