Productivity Tips

Our growing library of quick tips helps you identify unproductive habits so you can work smarter and more effectively.

Urgent vs Important

"The urgent problems are seldom the important ones."
- Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Many people view a long list of 'to-do's' each day as a sign of their productivity or importance. It is usually a mistaken belief. A lengthy activity list may well be a sign of poor delegation, unfocused effort, a lack of project planning skills or worst of all - workaholism. The fact that you are handling a myriad of details might trick you into thinking that you are being effective but this is rarely the case - you are being efficient at best.

The art of effectiveness is the ability to identify the 20% of your activities and projects that produce 80% of the results and concentrate on these first. Here's how:

  1. At the end of today, spend ten minutes identifying the three to five most important things you will do tomorrow.
  2. Write down these 'A' activities on tomorrow's 'to-do' list and designate them A1, 2, 3 etc.
  3. Now go to your calendar and put aside the first hour of the day to do them - yes that's right, make an appointment with yourself to get them done.
  4. Treat this appointment with the same respect and courtesy you would extend if there were another person present. It is vital to guard this 'A' time, because the really important tasks seldom have to be done immediately. If you are tempted by your inbox, or allow a telephone interruption, you'll immediately find youself spiraling down the slippery slope that leads to a pile of less important stuff.

Make this easy 4 step process a habit and you'll be on your way to an early tee time, a school concert or even a promotion!