Setting priorities and discipline

by paddu

I want to utilize my time but I continuously deviate and waste time by discussing unwanted things, and deadline pressure doing things at last time

Nov 30, 2010: Kell's response to staying focused on priorities

Hi Paddu, thanks so much for your post.

What you describe is so familiar with many of the people that I work with. They know what is important and really drives their performance but they are constantly pulled off their priorities, mostly by low value reactive tasks (e.g. many email).

When I work with these clients, some of them who are very busy and have high positions, we talk about the importance of learning effective habits of work.

Now Peter Drucker, who wrote the international best seller, "The Effective Executive" said that in the 40 years he had been working with executives that in all of this time he had never met an executive who was born effective.

What I take from this is that all the effective executives had to learn habits of success.

What are these habits of success?

In my own work it is about knowing what is really driving your performance and ensuring that you spend a reasonable portion of the day on these things.

But this can't be done with daily planning such as writing a to-do list.


Because a to-do list will just pull you into the reactive tasks that you are trying to avoid!

What you
really need to be doing is to have long-term planning that is relevant and meaningful to the overall goals at work.

To become real, these plans need to be brought into your short-term planning - at the weekly level.

I talk more about the three step process at effective time management.

But a word of warning: Self management requires hard work.

It is easy to draw up a time management schedule and schedule in our high impact activities, but it is much harder to put into practice - we get distracted from our priorities and our personal goals.

Sometimes this requires not just a personal mind shift, but an organizational shift of culture and expectations.

It will also be difficult when you are confronted with a dozen things coming at once that require our attention and all have deadlines.

The effective person prioritizes by importance. I talk more about this tyranny of the urgent at the time management matrix.

Changing a habit is hard work. Research says that it takes about 21 days to change a habit.

Choose one area of time management that you want to change and stick with it for 3 weeks.

Congratulate yourself on your small wins and try not to be too hard on yourself when you are distracted.

Fill out our time management survey to find what areas of time management you can improve, or check out our free time management course for more information.


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