The quality of questions you’re asking yourself determines the quality of your life.
You may not be aware of it, but you’re asking yourself hundreds if not thousands of questions every single day. Most of them direct our intentions, focus, and energy.
Questions can open our minds or close them. They can lead our energy toward positive ideas or help us to form negative, limiting beliefs.
Today, I want to share my three favorite questions with you that I ask myself multiple times a day. Questions that improved my focus, productivity, and quality of everyday life.
The first question helps me catch myself when I’d go astray and do easy things that don’t matter instead of focusing on what’s important.
Every time I start working on something, I ask myself:
1. Is this essential?
Remember that time when you knew you should be doing that one thing that actually mattered and moved the needle, like launching that ad campaign, making that phone call, or signing that client. Still, instead, you’d be “productively” procrastinating by researching, thinking about the best ways to do that thing, or creating dashboards in Notion. It’s okay; we’ve all been there.
The question “Is this essential?” gives you clarity, saves time, and makes it easier to achieve your end goal.
The second question I like to ask first thing in the morning, and it works as a reminder throughout the day.
2. What’s the most important thing for the day?
The concept comes from Peter Thiel – co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, Founders Fund, and one of the most interesting people alive.
At PayPal, he’d give everyone a single thing to focus on, only one problem to solve.
Most people tend to procrastinate on the most important and very difficult to solve A+ problems and work on B+ problems instead. So I ask myself, “what’s the one thing on my endless to-do list, that if I accomplished it today, would make the entire day a success?“.
Then I’d focus only on that thing until it’s done. And if after that I have time to tackle the second most important thing – great, I’d do that, and if not – the day is still a success, and I’d feel great about it.
The third question is all about peace of mind.
How often do you catch yourself thinking about some offhand comment that someone has made about you or your work? Going on and on in your mind about the fight that you’ve had with your friend or coworker? Or just getting angry about a canceled flight or a traffic jam?
Whenever I find myself in that downward spiral, I ask a simple question:
3. How am I going to feel about this in 15 minutes? 15 days? 15 years?
Answering this question helps me to almost immediately let go of what seemed to be an important problem that occupied all of my headspace just a second ago. And it works 100% of the time.
You’re not even going to remember that missed flight in 15 years, let alone care about it, so what’s the point of getting all worked up about it now?
Asking yourself helpful questions is great, but how do you remember to do that?
I’m a big fan of sticky notes, and I have a few of them with these questions, along with a few reminders around my workspace. So I’d actually see the questions multiple times a day without the need of reminding myself to ask them. You could also create a wallpaper for your phone or even a browser extension asking you a question whenever you open a new tab. That’d work just as well.
These questions gave me an entirely new perspective not just on my day but on my life, and I hope they’ll help you too.
What are some of your favorite questions that you ask yourself regularly? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!