Three Ways to make sure you get the right things done

We live in a world of distraction.  There is a barrage of information from every direction and we can easily get distracted from what is most important and focus upon things that seem important, but really are not.

I live through this every day and on some days I get the right things done and on others, I get distracted and work on less important matters.  I will spend a moment today to reflect and share with you what I do to get the right things done versus getting other things done.  This is a personal struggle for me and I suspect many of you have the same challenge.  Let me share a few tactics I employ and I will be interested to hear from you what you do.

1.  Separate the urgent from the important-Stephen Covey developed a very helpful tool many years ago and I find it to be one of the most important tools that I use to determine what needs to be done first.  The urgent vs. important matrix is shown below:

So often I get distracted by urgent issues that are not important; I suspect many of you have the same challenge.  Understanding the difference between what is most important will help you make better choices in where you spend your time.  Always choose important over urgent unless there is a overwhelming reason to do the urgent matter first.

2.  Take time to plan-Fail to plan, plan to fail.  So often I just start doing things without giving much thought to what needs to be done first.  If I perform step 1 well, this step takes care of itself, but I also have to determine which important things take the highest priority.  In addition, there are some days when taking time to just reflect are important.  I live in a world where I do not reflect enough and without reflection I don't always adjust and make the best usage of my time.  Additionally, when I do not reflect I neglect to make changes in how I do things.  Processes can always be improved and even the smallest incremental improvements can add up over the long haul.  Be sure to plan time for reflection-just make it happen.

3.  Pause to celebrate-I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard managers say they don't need to celebrate things.  The common excuse is that there is no need to celebrate what people are paid to do.  It is just expected.  These same managers (I neglect to refer to them as leaders) grossly underestimate how powerful recognition of others can be.  Even if others do not recognize your accomplishments, you should take a moment and smile, reflect and then celebrate accomplishments.  By doing so you set up a pattern for yourself and you also establish a framework that will make you a much better leader of others.  Great leaders take time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of others.  They do so because they recognize the power of recognition.

In summary, take time to plan, celebrate and separate the important from the urgent.

If you do these three things well, you will get more of the right things done.

What do you think?