Here’s a short and, I hope sweet, Pearl.
When you’re going about your job, and you are wondering what to do next, there’s only really one question to ask yourself:
What’s the most important thing I can do NOW to move closer to my goals?
Now if you’ve been in my presence for more than 2 minutes you will have a list of high-payoff activities – the critical activities which will deliver your goals and if you ignore even one of them, or fail to spend enough time on all of them, you WILL NOT achieve your goals.
So go to the list and scan it and choose the most important one and do it next. Repeat to fade.
Some people don’t like filling their diary with high-payoff activities. They like a bit more “freedom”. I hesitate to say it but that’s actually all right, provided the lack of diary-planning isn’t a productivity avoidance technique, but only you will know the answer to that.
I have one client who hardly ever uses her diary at all – but she has a list of high-payoff activities and when she’s spent a couple of hours on one she moves onto another. She’s very productive without actually scheduling anything. She’s disciplined. She doesn’t let the lack of a schedule turn into a lack of productivity.
If you don’t have a list of high-payoff activities go here now, before it’s too late.
One of the great things about this question – What’s the most important thing I can do NOW to move closer to my goals?, is that you cannot seriously answer “clear my email”, “do yet another edit on that PowerPoint”, or any of the other myriad issues that push and jostle their way into our field of view.
Here’s an idea – write the question out on a Post-It note and stick it on your screen, close Outlook, switch off your phone and spend the next 2 hours taking a giant stride toward your goals. Bliss.