Stephen Covey has a book called First Things First. It’s good. Peter Drucker has a chapter in his book The Effective Executive that is the essence of greatness. A huge chapter! There are too many insights to include in one post, but I’d like to highlight the key ideas.
Here’s the guiding principle: "Executive executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time." Simple right? How many of you can really just do ONE THING at a time? Lisa Haneberg over at Management Craft has written a series of posts about the downsides of multitasking. What Drucker focuses on here is the idea that making important contributions always requires significant "chunks of time." For an executive to end up with adequate time to devote to the project that will make the greatest difference (more on that later) will require "self-discipline and an iron determination to say ‘No.’" The executive will have to say "no" to the things that aren’t about the one project that has the greatest opportunity.
I really love Drucker’s idea that in every other way we consider juggling (multitasking) to be a circus act! What a great analogy!
Question: How many major projects are you juggling right now? Are you really devoting your time to the one thing that could make the greatest difference on the future? Or are you simply answering the bell to do what is someone else’s agenda? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?