William Liao

October 20, 2021

Will this matter in...

The feeling that there are a million things to do yet not enough time to do them can be both overwhelming and even paralyzing at times. 

An effective way to address this experience is by adding the dimension of time:

Try going through the list of things you feel like you need to accomplish and ask yourself the following about each item: “will this matter in 3 months?”

The list will get smaller. 

Expand the time frame to 6 months — the list gets even smaller. 

Expand the time frame to 12 months and beyond, and you will very likely be able to count on one hand what’s left. 

By asking yourself how much each activity will matter over time, you force yourself to think about your efforts' 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-order effects and how far they reach. And in understanding these effects, you arrive at a much more coherent and manageable list of high-impact priorities. 

There will always be a million things you could do. But, as you think about it, you’ll find that the list of things you should do — the impactful stuff that will send ripples well into the future — is much smaller.