Are You Just Busy Keeping Busy?

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

                                                   “The Key to Success is Action”   Brian Tracy
How many times do you look back on your day and wonder how you could have been so busy and have so little to show for it at the end of the day?  And contrast that with a day that felt so productive – when you felt as if you had such a great sense of accomplishment.  Most often the difference lies in how you used those hours in your day and if there was any pre-planning involved.

Brian Tracy, in his book Eat That Frog, offers 3 questions to use on a regular basis to keep you on schedule — focused on completing your key tasks on time.  These are questions to share with your team also as they need to understand that when the entire team is more productive, that leads to a more successful, profitable firm, which in turn leads to an increase the income for the team.

The first question is “What are my highest value activities?”  In other words, what are the activities that will make the most important contribution to the success of your firm?  This is one of the most important questions for you and your team members to clarify.

The second question he encourages you to ask on a regular basis is “What can I and only I do that if done well will make a real difference?”  This question came from the management guru — the late Peter Drucker.  Tracy states that this question is one of the best to achieve personal effectiveness.  After all, how often have you spent valuable time doing something exceptionally well that did not need to be done at all?

The third question to ask is “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?”  This is the question that speaks directly to time management.  We only have 24 hours in a day, no matter how often we might wish it were otherwise, so it is extremely important to consider what is the most valuable use of your time at that particular moment — and ask yourself this question regularly.

How often do you state that you just don’t have enough hours in the day to attend seminars or conferences, or to keep up with regular marketing activities?  If you and your team make it a habit to repeat Tracy’s question: Which one project or activity, if done in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive consequences for our firm?

These are questions that can be addressed each week as you calendar your activities.  It takes discipline, but try posting these questions in the office and try an experiment of following this advice for a month — then evaluate your firm’s productivity by the end of that month.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

To quote Goethe:  “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

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