A great post on the 43 Folders blog titled First, care. Excerpt:
Before you sweat the logistics of focus: ﬁrst, care. Care intensely.There are only a finite number of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and yet an ever more ambitious list of goals including project-specific, professional or personal ones. Figuring out where to spend time for best effect is a challenge I expect to continually tackle, building and refining techniques and reflecting on decisions made.
Because, in the absence of caring, you’ll never focus on anything more than your lack of focus. Think about it.
Think about those times when you really disappeared into challenging work. You had to tear yourself away, right?
Because, during those happy times you were fortunate enough to ﬁnd yourself engaged with something that you cared intensely about, you probably started asking a really different sort of question.
Some years ago I asked my manager of the time 'how do you fit it all in?' and he told me quite simply that I had to become tolerant of 'peripheral failure'. His advice has served well. Pick a few things that are important, push them hard and do everything possible to ensure they succeed. For everything else, mitigate risks where possible and consider successful outcomes as a bonus. I've used that as a framework since and while it may not be perfect, it has certainly made decision making both easier and more efficient overall.
Figuring out what you really care about? That's an entirely different question.