High Value Targets
It’s a common complaint among busy people: They reach the end of the day, only to realize that although they were running from project to project and crossing things off their list, they didn’t make any movement towards their largest goals.
If you can identify with this scenario, you’ve got an issue with the kind of tasks you’re undertaking. While it’s great to be busy and feel productive, it’s even more important to do the things that matter. The key to making this distinction is this question:
What are my highest value activities?
The answer to this question is going to be unique to you. No coach, no matter how skilled, can tell you what you derive the most value from. It stems from a combination of your unique gifts, talents, and skills, and your overall goals and dreams. Marry the two, and you’ve got a list of the things that only YOU can accomplish – and these are the things that should get priority on your daily to-do list.
If you find yourself getting sidetracked by tasks that aren’t on your highest-value list, you need to find a way to extricate yourself from them. You can delegate them to someone else, hire another person to do them, or just simply stop. Every minute you spend doing something “below your pay grade” is a minute you aren’t reaching your full potential. Concentrate on the tasks that you and only you are capable of doing, and leave the rest to someone else.
Think of it this way: If you call the Pentagon, the Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn’t answer the phone. He doesn’t respond to customer complaints. He doesn’t sweep the floors, order more paper for the copy machine, or make sure the cafeteria is fully stocked on coffee. He leaves those details to others, and he focuses on the projects and activities that only he can do: Visualizing the future path for military. Focus works. If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for you.
Just Get It Going
Sometimes we get stuck in the overwhelm of life. There are simply too many projects, too many things to do, too many people clamoring for our attention, and too much information. We aren’t at all sure on what we should do next, and so we retreat to the comparative peace and quiet of a game of Solitaire on our computer, or we check our email yet again, or we head to the refrigerator.
Everybody experiences this. Even in Special Forces there was a lot of information coming in. We learned to learned to ask the right question. Concentrate on what was important.
When you come to a stuck spot and you are baffled as to what to do next, or you are tempted to run away and hide in an episode of reality TV, ask yourself this question:
What is the one thing I could do today to move myself forward?
Sometimes the answer is a big task – “Buy a ticket to the $1000 conference.” But most of the time, it’s something very simple: Make the phone call, buy the book, answer the email. In fact, the answer is often so simple that we’ve discounted its power, which is why we’ve been feeling lost. Just like with a knot in a rope, sometimes it just takes a bit of wiggle room to make the whole thing loosen and come free.
Remember, you’re not looking for the grand gestures or huge movements (“I need to sell my house and move to the mountains); you’re looking for one thing you can start and accomplish TODAY that will let you make progress. Just get started, you don’t need to get it perfect. Often, it’s something you knew you needed to do but were avoiding; other times, it’s something you hadn’t realized was holding up the works. In either case, identify it, write it down, and make it happen.
What can I do to make just a little bit of progress?
If all you did was ask yourself this question day after day, and then take action on the answers, you’d soon find yourself closer to your goals than you ever imagined.
Leave a comment about how you are going to use “high value targets’ in your life and business.
Photo – Flickr:HikingArtist.com