The question a leader needs to ask themselves every single day of every week is if they are being proactive enough. In today’s fast paced world, the whirlwind, or the day-to-day, is what grabs our attention. It’s what our team and our schedules reflect. Often, the important but not urgent gets put off until tomorrow – and then to the next day. Time gets away and months later what was important is still not urgent.
Some simple techniques can be helpful in becoming more proactive. First, using the 10/10/10 rule. The 10/10/10 rule asks if it will be important in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. Many of the things we get focused on may pass one of the first two tests of being important in the next 10 minutes and the next 10 months – but not the last test of being important in 10 years. Having a long enough time horizon and ensuring we are working on the longer term as a part of each day is vital for our ultimate success – and our team’s future.
Another technique is to ask yourself what you would recommend to another person as their focus. Let’s be honest, we often get emotionally attached to our own tasks and projects. We have a hard time being objective. But, what would we recommend to a best friend concerning their priorities? Would we challenge them to be more bold and courageous? Would we tell them to focus on the big picture? Would we tell them to do the things that will make them and their business more competitive in 10 years – and not just today? Sure we would! We need to step back and offer ourselves and our team the same honest assessment and encouragement.
Time and our attention are our most important assets as leaders. We only have today that we can truly impact. How are we using our days? Are we using the 10/10/10 rule? Would we recommend our priority efforts to a close friend for their success? One method I use is to ask myself a key list of questions each morning. It can help me set my priorities for each day. I review MACNY’s and my personal long-term plans – each day. Each of these tools can help a leader stay grounded while reaching for the future.
What’s your routine to remain proactive and productive each day? If you don’t yet have one, today is a good day to start.