January 27

Priority Management & Focus

Leadership, Management, Podcasts

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Have you ever had a day at work where you’ve reached the end of the day, want to go home and you’ve not achieved the things that you really needed to or wanted to, or perhaps more than a day, it’s gone over the period of a week or even a month perhaps if it’s really bad. Now this podcast is not about priority management in it’s traditional sense like Stephen Covey’s quadrant two from his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog, which they’re both very good tools.

This podcast is about the emotional aspects, the emotional side of priority management and time management. Now bear in mind, there’s lots and lots of courses out there on managing time, managing priorities but we can’t manage time, we can only manage what we do within it. Time continues whether we like it or not, whether you want it to stop or not. It’s managing our priorities. Mow here’s the thing, if you’re a people person you’ll love to be around people, you love to go to those meetings, you love to do that course and you love to do those one to ones, you love to have a coffee with people at lunchtime and then carry it on a little bit further.

If you’re very much a process person, you may not wish to be interrupted, you may not wish to socialise, you may wish to get on with that computer system, that spreadsheet you need to produce, that project plan that needs delivering. Bear in mind, some people are really, really people focused and some people are really, really process focused but the trick is to balance them in the middle. Have you ever worked for a manager or perhaps even done this yourself if you are a manager, you’re so focused on getting a task done, getting it completed on time to the required budget so you don’t let your boss down that you’ve forgotten about the journey that the people in your team are actually having?

On the other side, have you ever worked for a boss or perhaps you’ve done it if you are a boss, that you’ve been so concerned with the people aspect, making sure everyone’s happy, motivated, engaged and all these other kinds of things that you’ve not tackled it when they’ve not delivered what’s required of them. Now here’s a sad codger behind this, we can only act on what we think about and what we think about drives us to do one thing or another thing or stay away from one thing or another thing. We’ve got to be very careful about what goes on in our brains, because every thought creates an emotion that will move us towards doing something or move us away from not doing something.

Have a think about this, if you’re not delivering what’s required of you by your boss, by your team, it’s because you’re choosing to do so and it’s possibly because you’re associating too much emotional pain to doing it than not doing it. What does that mean? For example, have you ever been given a deadline by your boss not really focused on what they need to have done by you and only then got interested in doing it because there’s a deadline looming. A deadline that if you don’t hit it, your boss will not think highly of you and may reprimand you and perhaps will destroy trust and a bit of your credibility.

What was the motivator there? It was avoiding a bit of a roasting or a reprimand from your boss, but the motivator is you only got your backside in gear when there was a consequence, an implication for you at an emotional level, as in I don’t want to get in trouble with my boss so I better get on and do it. Now, think of it this way, if you’re a manager and you’ve got 20 people in your team, or ten people in your team or two people in your team, they will also have their motivators too, as if I want to be doing the same thing over and over again and I don’t want change, I don’t want variety.

Other people will think, I don’t want to be doing the same thing over and over again, I do want variety, I do want change, I do want to try new things. This is where emotional intelligence to self-awareness kicks in. Notice where you are spending your time, choosing to spend your time vs where you are being trusted and paid to spend it. If you think something is lovely and shiny and bright and wonderful, you’ll be drawn towards that. If you think something is dull and boring and not interesting, you will be staying away from that but if the things that you think are dull and boring and gloomy are what your business or organisation needs you to deliver, you need to deliver it.

Please have this awareness of where you need to spend your time vs where you are spending your time. It’s all through our thinking and it’s all emotions. If there’s something that you don’t particularly enjoy doing, don’t just avoid, don’t just delegate it, think how can I enjoy doing this, how can I make this not as boring or gloomy? What are the consequences if I do deliver it to the required standard on time to my boss or whichever audience, but also what are the consequences for me if I don’t deliver it? That is probably going to be the biggest motivator, because people will usually do more to avoid emotional pain than they will do to obtain emotional pleasure.

Please think about this, please review this podcast again now and just get a real understanding of where you’re spending your time vs where it needs to be spent and then make some changes.


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