Friday thoughts - step back, prioritise self, identify high value add activities.

So I've had a little while since writing anything of substance for the blog, and in some recent work I have  revisited the subject of really effective prioritisation setting, I touched on it at points in the  Mastery Exercise pieces so having it appear as a topic in real life has been interesting - at the danger of sounding like a broken record I'll expand or work through it again briefly.

Prioritise high value add activity

So there are a couple of strands to a fairly widely used priority setting process, one is to apply the Pareto principle or 80/20 rule to our activities - to remind us that is the 'rule' that says 80% of our output is derived from 20% of our activity.  It's not a thing of fact, but a principle that we seem to find works, and if applied as theory can help to redirect us to doing things that make the biggest difference, add the most value.  At the same time it can help us to stop doing things that add little value at all. 

Under pressure we can get driven into doing things that are urgent and very immediate in impact and leave aside the things we can shuffle on - even though they are in fact very important, or could be great value add.  

Reflection time

I have said, and again this came out in the  Mastery Exercise, that the best leaders take time to focus on the stuff which appears on their list as 'not urgent' & 'adds value', to do this there is some bravery required, because it means stepping away from the 'urgent & adds value' stuff which is where we tend to find we end up, stuck in day-to-day busy-ness.  The day-to-day stuff has to be done, but if we never bring our attention to  some of things that can make a difference, our advance is slower than it could be - our potential less likely to be realised.
  • That's why I have continued to recommend taking time out to check in on yourself and asking yourself how you are doing on things - because it is a great value-adding activity, that takes no time.
Just taking that 5 minutes out, every day, to reflect and ask yourself a few questions, perhaps read something one day, check out your diary the next, check your priorities on another - you get the idea.
  • If you are training for something, or aiming for a promotion, whatever goal you are working towards, take some time to remind yourself of it, to remind yourself of what it requires from you.
That short amount of time can be immensely powerful for you, in a very simple but effective way, because it means that every day you will be checking in on an area that is important to you,  you will be maintaining your awareness around it.  Awareness brings choice, so you can keep choosing what it is you want to do, or how you need to be - rather than just wandering unconsciously and being done to by life.

Bring greater distinction

I came across this quote this the other day and enjoyed it, words do it for me.  I spent time examining words in the Mastery Exercise, which a number of people I know have found useful, which is pleasing.  There we were bringing greater distinction around the words, about what they may mean and what may be required was really all that we did there.
  • In so doing we've made the purpose of the word clearer and from there we can develop an actionable behaviour.
The Mastery Exercise starts here, last for 21 days and because it was written live, there are some references to the day of the week - so it is best to start on a Thursday.   The exercise will be left, as is, on the blog, warts, spelling mistakes, and all probably. It is also being adapted into a coaching support module and will be available as a resource soon.

G x

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