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.