We all like to look busy at the very least.
But if we were honest with ourselves, we substitute ‘looking busy’ for executing on the most important tasks.
We put in the hours, but we don’t work our key projects with discipline and vigor.
We email and call folks back and scan in documents for saving into whatever paperless system our offices have, but we don’t call that prospect or have that hard conversation or do the next slightly stressful task to move the ball down the field on that huge client project.
We shift pebbles around. We don’t stick the big board under that huge boulder and move that sucker.
Here is a short process that could help you execute on the things that matter.
- Identify what your key results areas are: What is the most important thing or two you do for your firm? Are you new business development? Marketing? Client services where rounding out accounts is imperative? Be clear on what you are all about.
- Clarify your current projects: What are the projects you have in the pipeline that specifically feed those key results areas?
- Bullet-point the steps to complete the project: Break them down. What is the very next step. Don’t be vague. Be extremely specific. In my world (insurance), there could be 3-5 applications that need completion. Pick one and make that one thing the next step.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and execute that next step: Do not answer email. No one needs you that bad.
- Try to stick to it for 2 hours: Most other ‘urgencies’ can wait. Remember. These urgencies aren’t always that important. And you often are NOT the right person to respond anyway. Everybody’s just used to you helping out (another pitfall of those who struggle to do the effective things vs. looking busy).
After spending an hour or two working the steps in your project or executing on the important yet not urgent activities like prospecting or other creative work, take care of urgencies for 30 minutes or so and start all over again on the important stuff.
The key thing is to be clear on what your primary role or roles are and to be clear on the types of projects that will most help you fulfill your primary role.
Those are your Most Important Tasks or Projects. Do those things. Say ‘No’ to as much other crap as you possibly can and do the stuff that counts.