Do you get to the end of the day and feel that you’ve met your most pressing deadlines but haven’t accomplished anything that’s fundamentally important? If you’re like most people, important priorities slip to the back of your mind while you work on low-importance, time-specific tasks. Here is a list of practical strategies and tips to move you in the right direction.
Schedule Important Tasks
Research shows that scheduling when and where you’ll do something makes it dramatically more likely that the task will get done.
Isolate the Most Impactful Elements of Important Tasks
If you habitually set goals so lofty you end up putting them off, try this: When you consider a goal, also consider a half-size version which feels doable.
Anticipate and Manage Feelings of Anxiety
Many important tasks involve tolerating thinking about things that could go wrong, which is anxiety-provoking. Examples: managing difficult staff, succession planning for your business, actually reading your insurance policies, or creating that crisis management plan.
Acknowledging and labeling the specific emotions that make an experience emotionally challenging is a basic but effective step for reducing those emotions.
Spend Less Time on Unimportant Tasks
Unimportant tasks have a nasty tendency of taking up more time than they should. Having strategies for making quicker decisions can help too. When you’ve got a pressing decision to make, it can be better to make a quick decision than a perfect one that takes more time.
Adapted HBR July 2018 Boyes