Are you getting your most important tasks accomplished? Do you even know what's most important to focus on?
If your goal is to keep yourself busy, then spending time doing whatever is on the list works fine. If you are responsible for running a business that has to make money for you and your employees to live on, doing whatever is on your list is not a good strategy for accomplishing what matters most.
Way too many business owners and career professionals succumb to 'list management' as a way to handle the endless stream of things coming at them. Why? Becasue if you aren't in control of what you work on, you begin to trade activity for accomplishment.
The fact is, not everything is important. Indeed, most things we trade our time for are so miniscule that we struggle to remember them days later. But, at the time, we maybe getting pressure from someone to get them done. Or, they may have risen to a level of urgency that previously was not there. All the while, without clear focus on what is truly most important, we leave ourselves wide open to attracting low level tasks because we don't appear to be busy.
There are a few things you can do to break this cycle.
1. Stop believing in the notion that everything that crossed your desk most be done or done by you! If the task is something that should be handled, ask yourself two questions: 1). Who can I get to do this? (delegation) and 2). If there is no one capable for doing this, who can I train to do this?
2. Assess your past activity for patterns. If you go back and look at your calendar or old task lists (yes, I know you keep them) start circling the things that were truly important. Remember, urgency does not mean important. You will like find that the amount of time you spent on low level tasks or things that could be delegated is huge.
3. Start clarifying what is really important for you to be investing time doing. Thing of your time as currency. Every hour you spend doing something, you give away some of your currency. What are you getting in return? If you run a business, your main focus should be on acquiring new business, keeping your current business and insuring you have the best staff to support the business. Stop whatever you are doing that does not focus on those three things.
4. Maximize pareto's principle. It's the rule that says 20% of your effort returns 80% of your results. If you focused 40% or 60% of your time and effort on your most important things, you would double or triple your accomplishments.
People who are highly productive and successful in their businesses or careers, understand that identifying their true priorities is the key to outperforming their competitors and colleagues. It's not rocket sciense, it's getting clear about what's most important to you and eliminating everything else in your path.
About the Author:
Steve Smith is an experienced business and executive coach. He is also the founder and President of GrowthSource Coaching based in Orange County, CA. Steve works individually with business professionals who want to achieve top tier effectiveness in the organizations they run. He writes articles and talks on various radio shows about the effects of leadership, management and marketing as the most important elements of running a successful business.
About the Author
Steve provides leadership, management and marketing coaching to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs worldwide. Considered the Catalyst for Change by the California Business Journal, Steve has coached over 400 business professionals to date.