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Perhaps you busy yourself with responding to email, responding to voice mail or helping other people with their urgent priorities. You can get busy cleaning your office, organizing your desk or setting up a sophisticated filing system to corral the electronic flotsam and jetsam entering your world. Doing these things can give you a feeling of accomplishment, too (especially if you make a list and cross them off as you complete them). But you can complete all sorts of tasks and still not get anything done.

If you really want to get things done, you have to be willing to trade in the activities that don’t move you any closer to your goals for the ones that do. You have to swap email and voice mail duties for a higher-value task, such as developing new relationships or nurturing existing ones. You have to swap cleaning your office and organizing your desk for finding ways to better serve your clients. You have to swap low-value work for real work that produces real results.

The problem is that the important work you really need to do is more difficult. You have to overcome your resistance to it. This is the work you are trying to avoid when you spend your time scratching low-value tasks off your list.

Your results in business, sales and life are going to be determined by the time, effort and energy you invest in those few tasks that generate real outcomes. You don’t generate results by having an empty inbox, a clean desk, an organized office or the world’s best electronic filing system.

Swap low-value tasks that eat up your time for those high-value outcomes that really matter to you. Scratching those off your list will lead to a much greater — and much more real — sense of accomplishment.

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S. 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


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