You’ll never have the time or the energy to do everything you need to do. (If by chance this isn’t true for you, you aren’t working hard enough.) The truth is that you have limited bandwidth. There is limited time, and you have limited energy. As tireless as you may be, there is only so much you can get done each day. So it’s important that you employ your limited bandwidth in getting the right outcomes.
Ranking outcomes. It’s too easy to fall into that reactive mode where you sit waiting for the world to act on you. And it doesn’t take long for the world to show up and drop something in your lap. Someone needs a meeting. A client has a problem. It’s all work, true. But it isn’t the right work.
To effectively use your time and energy, you have to be proactive. You have to take control of the decision as to which work you want to devote your energies to. Rank the outcomes you need to achieve each week. Then, start each day by ranking the most important outcomes you need to achieve that day. Write them down. What’s the most important outcome you need to achieve? What’s the second most important? Keep going. List them all.
Start early on what’s most important. The most effective way to ensure that you achieve your desired outcomes each day is to front-load your day with what’s most important. You start by working on your most important outcome first. Then you can move on to your second most important outcome. And down the list you go.
One of the reasons starting with the most important outcome is so difficult for many of us is that it often requires our doing the most difficult work. But that’s why it’s best to do it early in the morning; that’s when you have the bandwidth. Once you’re wiped out for the day, tackling the most important—and difficult—tasks doesn’t sound too appealing.
Do you need to call that client with the persistent problem your team is having trouble solving? Or has your pipeline been weakening? Is prospecting what you really need to be doing? You know these tasks will get you the outcomes you desire, but you also know the tough client conversation could go wrong. And who wants to prospect if there’s easier work to do?
The reason we avoid the tough work is simple: fear. We avoid things that seem to us to be unpleasant (or that even have the potential of being unpleasant). Doing the work that produces the important outcomes we need may not be pleasant. That’s why it’s critical to tackle this work when you have the maximum bandwidth.
By ranking your desired outcomes and completing the most important first, you can ensure that you accomplish what you need to. Then, if the world starts making demands of you and wipes you out, you can still leave your office with a sense of accomplishment, knowing you succeeded in achieving your most important outcomes first.
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Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/