I hear managers tell me they don’t have enough time in the day to do what they need to do while running from fire to fire, fires frequently of their own making. When you run from one crisis to another, you never make time for the important until it becomes the urgent.
When you find yourself dealing predominantly with urgencies, you never get to depth with your actions because you just look for the quickest way to stop the pain. Therefore, you keep readdressing the same problems when the short-term fix wears off.
It’s time to step off the urgent train and onto dealing with the important issues that will actually improve your business. Prioritize to be productive.
Set your top five priorities for the day – in order. If you get nothing else done, these five things will be completed, these five things will be done at the end of the day. The only way to overwhelm the urgencies is to do the necessary important things to stop the urgencies from happening to begin with. Yes, it may require extra effort and time commitment, but the alternative is to stay on the same non-productive gerbil wheel you find yourself on most days.
While you are prioritizing your tasks, be mindful to prioritize your time as well. The wasted minutes in a day dealing with non-productive tasks can be alarming once you truly step back and look at how you are devoting your work time.
Where to start?
I have found for most executives in this whirlwind of non-productivity, they need to focus on the importance of building a proper foundation. After years of a “ready, shoot, aim” approach to running the business, the foundation for positive growth and focus has eroded. Ask yourself, “Where has my foundation crumbled that is causing all of these urgencies?” Do you have a firm description of policies and procedures? Do you have solid training programs for employees?
These are the important priorities you need to begin with to slow the flow of urgent cries for help in your organization.