Could a lack of clarity be holding you back?
During the last month or so I've been in full-on reflective mode, looking for the nuggets of wisdom hidden beneath the discomfort (if you missed last week's post about my recent bout of anxiety, you can catch up here). Something that came up time and time again was the importance of clarity.
Clarity is a crucial part of any successful attempts to be productive. Without it progress is slow and laboured, but get the clarity you need and you'll be laughing!
Here are just a few examples of ways in which clarity is important for productivity:
Your to-do list. Do you have a clear picture of the tasks that need to be done in your business and in your life? If not, instead of having multiple notebooks, post-its and apps, gather everything in and capture all your to-dos in one place.
Meeting your goals. If you don't have clarity around your next step, how will you ever take it? Take some time to reconnect with your goals and the vision underlying them, then write down the steps that will get you there. You may not know every step right now, but make sure you always have clarity around the next action you need to take, no matter how small.
Procrastination. Often we procrastinate when we're not entirely sure what we're doing. Next time you're putting something off or finding it hard to focus, ask yourself whether you need more clarity. If the answer is yes, think about how you could get it. Maybe you need to ask for help (whether from a human being or Google). Or perhaps it would help to get clear on the purpose of what you're doing so you can come back to it with renewed motivation.
Boundaries. It's hard to enforce healthy boundaries if you're not really sure what they are. If you're fed up of taking on too much or working more hours than you'd like, I'd suggest sitting down with a cuppa and thinking about your boundaries. For example, what time do you want to start and stop work each day? How many client calls do you have time for in a week? Do you want to respond to emails during the evening? There will be times when you need to be a little flexible with these boundaries, but getting clear on what they are is the first step towards taking back control.
Expectations. Do you know what other people expect from you, or are you guessing? Sometimes we add more to our plate unnecessarily, assuming that people need more from us than they actually do. If you're not sure, ask. For example, you might incorrectly assume that your partner expects you to take responsibility for certain household tasks. Or maybe you think that a client is expecting a lengthy update on a project when actually they'd prefer a few headline bullet points.
You may be reading this thinking “that’s all very well and good, but I’m not sure it’s quite that straightforward.” And you’d be right. My intention with this post is to show you how a lack of clarity in our day-to-day work can sometimes thwart our progress. But it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that when we consider clarity in terms of the bigger picture, it can be a little more complicated!
We can sometimes spend years searching for clarity. I spent at least 30 years with no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up! But we can’t let that stop us from moving forward or from enjoying the journey. If you’re unclear about your future vision, see if you can get comfortable with the uncertainty, identifying the next small thing you could do to move a step closer to that bigger clarity.
Do you feel discombobulated when clarity is missing, or are you able to function perfectly well without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do share in the comments below!
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