The great coach, Jim Rohn recommends: “Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. People usually don’t do well because they major in minor things.” The difference between getting everything we want out of our careers (and life), and settling for less in life, is usually a result of the choices we make on a daily basis.
Although it may seem relatively easy to identify and pursue the most important activities every day, our nature as people is to focus on less productive activities because they are the activities we know we can be successful completing. These are usually the unproductive, 80% tasks that don’t provide maximum results.
Why is it that most people make bad choices when prioritizing? It’s a result of a couple of things:
- Failing to Identify the Top Activities in Writing – There is no excuse for not putting your top goals for the year in writing. If you don’t, it’s often a result of the fear of failure. If you don’t write down what you want to accomplish, you can rationalize your results. How often have you said to yourself: “I was really busy today, but I don’t feel like I accomplished much.” This doesn’t happen when you attack the most important projects first.
- Poor Daily Prioritization – This is what causes you to run out of time to get to the top priorities, such as prospecting. If your habit is to get the easy tasks done first, more times than not, you won’t have enough time to complete every task on your list, and you will never get to the most important activities. Focusing on lower priorities first is also a result of the fear of failure. Rarely do you know if you’re going to be successful when you prospect or work on top priorities. This uncertainty causes paralysis, so we default to easier tasks that we can complete without risking failure.
Once you have a written agenda of what you want to get done, the next step is to prioritize the list. Choosing the most important tasks isn’t that difficult if you ask yourself one important question before you decide:
“At the end of this year, will I get what I want if I do this task? If the answer is no, then choose a more important activity.”
The habit of getting the most productive projects done first, will lead to great success. And, the best time to start choosing and completing 20% activities is now!