From Seth Godin's blog:
I don't think winners beat the competition because they work harder. And it's not even clear that they win because they have more creativity. The secret, I think, is in understanding what matters.
... (they) are doing it by perfecting the things that matter and ignoring the rest.
That's so obvious, and yet so difficult to embrace. I talk about getting things done, "just do it", making forward progress, ending the day ahead of where you started it - things like that. But even while trying to move forward, how much of our day's energy gets wasted on stuff that really doesn't matter?
Most of us can't tell our boss when what we're doing is a waste of time, or at the very least we're skittish about how the potential outcome could affect our livelihood. But then there you are, slaving away on something which ultimately doesn't move you forward. The more energy you can shift towards getting the things that matter done, the better off you'll be.