The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do Today


I can tell you right now how productive I will be today. It all depends on a simple two-minute exercise: setting my daily priorities. If I did it this morning, this is likely to be a good day. If I did not do it, I will probably finish my workday feeling wasteful and unfulfilled.

Grab an index card and write down the most important thing you need to accomplish today. If you don’t think that item will take all day, record a second priority. Fill out the card with everything you can reasonably expect to accomplish (rarely will this list have more than five items). Once the card is filled out, focus completely on #1 until it’s done. Then mark it off and move on to #2. Repeat this process until your card is full or your day is done – whichever comes first. If it’s time to go home and your list is not done, you either wasted time or planned too much. You be the judge. Either way, you’re learning something that you might not have known had you not recorded your expectations for the day.

Recently, I was speaking to a high school class about the importance of this discipline. One student raised his hand and asked, “So what’s on your card today?” The class laughed, but I applauded him for holding me accountable. Then I read him my priorities (one of which was to speak to his class).

If you don’t already set your daily priorities, start now. And I mean now. It will only take you two minutes. Imagine if all of your employees did this. Imagine if you could randomly ask anyone in the hallway, “What do you need to accomplish today?” and he had a ready answer. Think about how quickly you could move as a company. Think about what you could accomplish.

Like I said, do it now.



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