Are you feeling the pressure of too little result for too much effort? In this article, you’ll learn to prioritize your tasks to maximize your results. So get focused and get results!

Most of us focus on what's urgent and not enough on what's important.

The late great Stephen Covey—Boy, I owe that man a debt of gratitude. His book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” definitely shaped my career when I first read it over 30 years ago.

It still affects me to this day. I still re-read that book every so often, and I get something new out of it each time.  Why is this relevant?  Why is this relevant to getting focused, getting results?

Time Management Quadrants

I want to share with you real quick a piece of that book where he talks a little bit about his time management quadrants. And in those quadrants, you have things that are:

  1. not important,
  2. things that are important,
  3. things that are urgent,
  4. things that are not urgent.

And the key is most of us get caught up in things we deem urgent and things we deem not important; that’s a big key here to what I want to discuss.

Let's Take A Look At Your Day

As you think about and go through your day, where does each task that comes across your plate fall?  Are these things important?  Are they not important? Are they urgent, or are they not urgent?

The key is that we don’t want to go through a day with all urgent tasks. That usually means that we’re doing something wrong. We’re not managing our time well. When everything is a fire, and we have to drop everything, and wow, we have to address that real quick; this causes problems if you haven’t noticed that already.

The Key To Getting The Right Results

The key is to get things when they are important but not urgent!

What do I mean by that? 

Important things—relationship-building—developing your relationships is important, but it’s not urgent. But by developing that relationship today, better things happen for tomorrow. Does that make sense? I hope that does.

Avoid Putting Yourself In This Situation

Things that usually fall into that quadrant, that scary quadrant of critical and important, a lot of those are, we manufacture those ourselves, like your email. Is it really critical and important that you check your email as soon as it comes into the inbox? As soon as you hear that ding or whatever it is pop up on your computer? Somebody instant messages you. Is it critically important to drop everything you’re doing? Lose your focus and respond to that? Your phone rings. Do we drop everything we’re doing to answer that phone? The answer to all those is no!

We create a lot of our emergencies. And then when real emergencies do arise, it stresses us, puts us over the limit, or we can’t deal with them.

So Again, Get Focused

So the key is to make sure that we’re focusing on the things that matter, the important things. The things that are going to lend to better results in the end.

So I want you again to think about your day. First, think about your next hour. Then, think about your next five minutes. One of the most impactful things you can do in the next five minutes is to move you closer to whatever you are looking to achieve—so let’s say you are looking to get your business from $100,000 to $1 million a year. What can you do in these next five minutes to move you closer to that financial goal?

Is answering the phone call because it rang right now or diving into my email, is that the right thing to do? Maybe, it depends. Are you expecting a phone call from somebody who can move your initiative further, faster? So the idea is to stay laser-focused on the important but not yet critical activities. It doesn’t mean you don’t handle critical things that absolutely need your attention, but the idea is to manage those. And to weed out the ones that aren’t true emergencies.

The Time Wasters

You have those things on the bottom quadrants that just aren’t important.  When we deem things as not important but critical, those are usually things and burdens that others put on us. Like when I say things like don’t try and give me your monkey, that’s what I mean; it’s like when other people try and make their problems your problems. You don’t want anything to do with that.

The other quadrant is the things that aren’t important and not urgent. And that could be entertainment, that could be watching frivolous movies and videos on YouTube. Not that that is a terrible thing, but just manage that as well. And make sure that you’re getting something out of it. So if it’s entertainment you are looking for, then fine. Just make sure that it’s not impeding what you are trying to accomplish.

Bottom Line

So bottom line, folks, stay focused. Get focused, get results! 

Think about what actions are the most important non-critical for you right now that will move you closer to whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. And this goes for anything in your life and your business.

I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you want to share what actions you took. Comment on the blog. I’d love to hear from you. Make it an outstanding next five minutes!

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