How do you decide what you will focus your energy on for any given day? Are you just basically reacting to the fires that raise the biggest alarms? Are you in some kind of zenlike connectivity to the core purpose that drives you? Somewhere in between, right? But then, how do you make SURE you’re focusing on what you want to spend your time doing? Here’s my two-step method:
Step 1: Figure out the Big Picture
In my professional life, the big picture in 2006 is “make it easy to do business with us.” The plan there is that we’re looking to land sales in a whole new market segment, and the sale will involve giving the customers as much of an education as they can stomach on our complex technology.
In my personal life, the big picture in 2006 is “paid for content”, “grow my capabilities”, and “develop a larger network of colleagues.” Pretty easy and clear, right?
It took a while to get both of those figured out, but now that I have them, they are the big picture, the map, the edges of my borders.
Step 2: Carve focus appropriately
This is the “getting things done” space of things. It doesn’t matter a rat’s ass that you have great intentions. It doesn’t matter that you make resolutions. Nothing matters if you don’t actually execute against what you say are the things that matter most to you. Here’s how I’m going to try approaching this in 2006:
I’m going to draw a big circle. In the middle of it, I’ll write my business goals (for the one at work) and my personal goals (for the one at home). Off that circle, I’ll draw three spokes or lines, leading down to three smaller circles. In THOSE circles, I’ll set up the three rules of my days. Here’s the business one:
Rule 1. – 2 hours of content minimum.
Rule 2. – 1 hour of meetings maximum.
Rule 3. – 1 hour of development minimum (development equals training me, training others).
Yes, I know that shows only four hours, but you know what? When you REALLY look at what you get done in a day, I challenge you to find more than four “useful” hours of work. The rest is tripe and social interaction.
My personal one looks almost the same, only I don’t have to go to meetings, and I doubled the development (which includes fitness).
(I like trying to align my personal goals with my professional ones, because it makes me feel less in conflict between what I’m doing to make a buck and what I’m doing to try and make the world a better place).
I think I’m going to fill in the bubbles when I accomplish the targets I’ve set out. Then, I can have a nifty looking little trend graph showing how I did. It’ll blend a sort of “radar” look with a little “footprint” trail of my success or my need for improvement.
What do you think?