Do You Have Your Business Priorities in Order?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On September 8, 2014

BizPrioritiesAs business professionals, we always have to balance priorities, and the more successful among us seem to be better at balancing those priorities than the rest. Is there a secret that the successful possess? How do they manage to do the right thing at the right time?

Fast Company recently reported on 4 Odd Yet Effective Ways the Smartest People Prioritize Their Days. You can read the whole article here, but here are a few snippets to give you the gist of the article.

  1. Think About Death: During his classic 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs commented that he daily asked himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” It may sound extreme, but it’s a pretty effective tool for sorting out what really needs to be done.
  1. Wear the Same Clothes Every Day: Steve Jobs pops up here again with his trademark jeans and black turtleneck, but he isn’t the only one. Larry Ellison from Oracle has his own “uniform.” So does Jeff Bezos of Amazon. The idea behind this is that you don’t waste time making decisions that don’t matter. Save that energy for what’s really important.
  1. Know the Difference Between Urgent and Important: Something can be urgent without actually being important. And just because something feels urgent (it feels like you have to act now) doesn’t mean it merits your attention. If you pay attention to the really important things, urgent things often fall into place.
  1. Make an “Avoid at All Costs” List: Warren Buffet suggests making a list of the top 25 things you want to accomplish. Then chose five that are the most important—and avoid the other 20 like the plague. It’s the concept of “Good is the enemy of the best.”

The real question in all of this is, “What drives your priorities?” And that goes back to your strategic planning. If you don’t have clear strategic goals and priorities you’ll be at the mercy of whims, “urgent” demands, and the constant changes that bombard the business world around you.

Many of us are heading into the fourth quarter of our business year. That means we should be planning ahead for the coming year. Now is the time to start thinking about what really matters. Just having priorities isn’t the key to success. Having the right priorities is crucial. That means having goals and objectives that are clear and measureable. Those are the things that should drive your daily priorities. And you need to have regular reviews of how your daily activities help you achieve your long-term goals. Activities that don’t move you toward your strategic goals will actually keep you from reaching them.

Do you have your business priorities in order? Are you planning in such a way that what’s really important over the long haul drives what you (and your team) do on a daily basis?

If you’d like help with this, let me know. I’ve got some great planning tools that can help you make sure your priorities are in the right order.