Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day is a tool for people who aren’t willing to put off their most important work for another day. The key is embracing the idea that time is finite, so you should focus on the unique contribution to the world that only you can make.
How you spend your focus, time, and energy
Many productivity systems recommend reviewing work and priorities on a weekly basis. The practice I’m recommending is not intended to replace those weekly reviews or assessments, but to supplement (and complement) them.
The goal of the daily checkpoint is to refocus on your effectiveness rather than your efficiency. All progress is not true progress. It’s possible to gain ground for many days, weeks, months, or even years but be going in a completely wrong direction. That’s why is important to have mechanisms in your life to help you decide whether your efforts are helping you advance on your goals, or just feeding your need for forward motion.
There is a five-step process you can follow to scan your life for potential action points, and position yourself to do work you’ll be proud of later.
Set aside ten to fifteen minutes each day to perform a daily checkpoint.
E focus on your Ethics
Look at today’s appointments, commitments, and tasks. Consider how you will apply your ethic to each of them. As you glance at your commitments, how will you engage them today? Will any of them require more focus, time, or energy than the others?
Consider potential pitfalls. Are there any items on your daily list that you know will present a challenge to your ability to live out your ethic?
M focus on your Mission
What change will exist today as a result of my efforts? Is there a step goal on the agenda for today?
What isn’t already represented? What have you been meaning to do, but haven’t made the effort to work it into your daily routine? Do you need to add a task, a call, or some other kind of action to your day?
P focus on People
Carefully consider who you will interact with today and how you can serve them.
As you think about the people you’ll encounter today, is there any way in which you could serve them that would be unexpected or add a disproportionate amount of value? It’s easy to allow relationships to slip into autopilot, or to take them for granted. How could you surprise someone today with generosity or encouragement?
T focus on Tasks
Consider your daily priorities. What absolutely must get done today, and when will you do it?
Define your projects. It’s impossible to solve a problem you haven’t defined, and yet many of us drift from day to day with a vague sense of the projects we’re responsible for without ever stopping to truly consider the issues at hand.
Y focus on You
What will you do today to develop yourself? Are you learning a new skill, tackling a passion project, or pursuing a specific curiosity? Will you take a risk to try something new?
What do you need to start moving on? Is there anything you’re feeling a sense of urgency to start? Get started. Today’s the day.
Be grateful. Take a few minutes to be grateful for your life. It doesn’t matter how much or little you have, there are always things to be thankful for.
Dream a little. If you have time left, spend some time dreaming a bit about what you’d like to see happen. In an ideal world, how would you spend your days, what kinds of opportunities would you have, and who would you interact with?
Complement Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day with The Five Stages of Mastering Workflow. No matter what the setting, there are five discrete stages that we go through as we deal with our work.