Do you ever find yourself working on a bunch of things and then realize none of them are truly important?
I've run into this issue many times over the past year starting Radiate. I never fully appreciated time management until I started to run a business, work a full-time job and still raise my two boys (and no, the boys don't come third!). I always thought I was pretty good at time management - hey, I'm a working Mom after all - but this year has really kicked my butt.
Turns out I'm not the only one with time management challenges. Lots of CEOs I talked to on Radiate had similar stories. Some gave some genius tips on how to manage parts of their day, including Tommy John CEO Tom Patterson who revealed his secret trick to controlling his email inbox.
However, few pieces of advice have matched the simplicity of asking yourself the following phrase, which I learned from my teammate:
"[X Task]...is not a priority."
Putting whatever you need to do in the [X Task], whether it's answering an email or going to the doctor, will help you separate the nice-to-dos from the must-dos. I started to put in things like "Send thank-you card" or "Make eye appointment" in the box and quickly came to realize things I'd put at the bottom of my priority list were mis-categorized. It's so easy to fall into the trap where tasks that are urgent but not important dominate your to-do list.
Randi Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg Media agreed with me: "I really try to make sure that I'm not putting all my energy in that bucket, and that I'm also focusing on things that are high-priority, even if they're not time-sensitive, because they're good for me in the long run," she said on Radiate. "So I think as long as you make sure that you're doing things that further your career and your business, and not just things that are time-sensitive for other people."
So next time you find yourself running and going nowhere, ask yourself the simple phrase above and I guarantee the fog of all your to-dos will look a lot clearer.