[This is a guest post by Steve Spring who is the author of Live Your Life On Purpose. Steve writes about how you can become more productive by knowing your purpose, having a plan, and using the most effective productivity tools and techniques. A former management consultant, Steve loves coffee, sailing, and being anywhere he can stick his toes in the ocean. He is a Christ-follower, husband, dad, and entrepreneur who loves his family, friends, and helping others achieve all that they were created to be. Check out Live Your Life On Purpose or find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you would like to guest post on my site, click here.]
Is your email inbox overflowing?
Do you suffer from information overload?
Do you find yourself getting distracted?
Do you procrastinate too much on important projects?
Do you multitask too often?
When you look back on your day are you disappointed by how little you have accomplished?
Most leaders struggle with one or more of these issues during their career. Maybe you are struggling with one or more of these issues right now.
If you are like most people, you turn to books or websites on time management hoping to find a way to get it all done. You think that if you find a new process, or system, or a new app you will be able to get it all done.
Why You Can’t Do It All
The truth is that you can’t get it all done. That is the problem. Your time is a finite resource. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day. You can’t manage your time, you can only manage yourself and your organization.
To be successful today, you need to make a paradigm shift from doing everything, to doing the right things.
Doing The Right Things Vs Doing Everything
Focusing on the right things means that you will need to make some difficult decisions on which projects and tasks that you organization will complete.
• This begins by determining your priorities based on your organization’s vision and values.
• Next you need to determine the “right things” based on these priorities.
• Plan the “right things” and put them on your calendar.
• Put everything else on your “someday list.”
The Pareto Principle suggests that working on the top 20% of your projects based on your organization’s vision and values will produce 80% of your results. By focusing on the right things, you will complete your key projects in less time, with less effort increasing both your efficiency and your effectiveness.
How To Focus On The Right Things
Use Your Vision - The organization’s vision is the key to determine the your overall priorities. You should use your organization’s vision to assess each project, and stop working on any project or projects that don’t fit with your organization’s vision.
Set Your Goals - An effective leader uses goals to develop an overall plan for the organization, and your goals should serve as milestones along the path to accomplishing your organization’s vision. Keep in mind that your goals should always be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and tracked over time.
Develop Your Plan - Create plans that will ensure that you will complete the projects that will achieve your organization’s goals. Make sure that these plans are realistic and that you are disciplined enough to complete them.
Communicate Your Priorities - Regular and effective communication is required to make sure that the everyone is focused on the projects that will make the largest impact on your organization’s success. This will require you to consistently communicate these priorities throughout the organization.
Review and Make Adjustments - Make sure to schedule time review your organization’s progress toward its goals. This should be done on a regular basis and will give you an opportunity to make any required adjustments to your plans
Nothing affects the bottom-line of an organization more than the time-effectiveness of its leader. It is the responsibility of the leader to determine the path that the organization will take, and to focus the organization’s time on completing the “right things.” The things that add the most value to the organization.
Question: What have you done to focus your organization on completing the “right things?”