Posts Tagged ‘priorities’

In 100 Words: 3 Ways to Increase Time Efficiency

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 by AdvisorCatalyst

3 Ways to Increase Time Efficiency*:

  1. Log your actual time to the nearest quarter hour.  I guarantee your time efficiency will be lower than what you think it is.
  2. Begin each day by jotting your 3-5 most important priorities for that day on a note card.  Carry that card with you all day.  It will free your mind from less important to-dos and keep you focused on driving the most pertinent organizational goals.
  3. Each week, look at your time log and identify one activity that should be delegated to someone else.  You might even ask your team what you should not be doing.

*These tips are pulled from “Leveraging Leadership” by Ben Anderson-Ray.

“Management is doing things right.  Leadership is doing the right things.”  (Peter Drucker)

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Advisor Power Question: “What’s the Next Action?”

Friday, August 20th, 2010 by AdvisorCatalyst

A CEO recently contacted me to learn more about our strategy execution system. Early in the conversation, I realized that he was actually looking for a system to manage his own time, projects, and work flow. Of course, the disciplines of our strategy execution process are as applicable to individuals as they are to organizations: long-term, quarterly, weekly, and daily priorities. (Read more about setting daily priorities.) Having established that, I recommended this CEO read Getting Things Done by David Allen.

If you’re not familiar with this book, read it. Allen lays out a 5-stage system for managing workflow. I have clients who have used this book to completely change the information storage systems throughout their organizations with great results.

In addition to that system, Allen drills the importance of the phrase, “What’s the next action?” I have found this to be a powerful question for driving clarity in strategic conversations with my clients. Allen writes:

“I am frequently asked to facilitate meetings. I’ve learned the hard way that no matter where we are in the conversation, twenty minutes before the agreed end-time of the discussion I must force the question: “So what’s the next action here?” In my experience, there is usually twenty minutes’ worth of clarifying (and sometimes tough decisions) still required to come up with an answer.”

As you work with clients, ask yourself two questions: (1) Is there a decision to come out of this conversation? and (2) What’s the next action? My own experience confirms that of David Allen; there is at least twenty minutes worth of conversation yet to take place.


The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do Today

Thursday, July 8th, 2010 by Scott Bahr

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.