Think before you act. Measure twice and cut once. Well begun is half done.
We’ve all heard the proverbs, but actually doing them is something else. Each week that seems to be harder than you’d think. Have you already thought about what you most want to make happen this week?
My solution, which I’ll share in a second, isn’t mysterious. In fact it’s super straightforward. Seneca, the Roman philosopher, often met with criticism when he gave advice. His response? It can help to point out what we all already know.
People say: “What good does it do to point out the obvious?” A great deal of good; for we sometimes know facts without paying attention to them. Advice … merely engages the attention and rouses us, and concentrates the memory, and keeps it from losing its grip. We miss much that is set before our eyes.
My solution is this: think up what you want to accomplish before you start your workweek. Set a couple of clear goals for yourself. Where will you be by the end of the week? What jobs will you have completed? What will you have started?
Take a few minutes to write down your list. I guarantee you’ll get more out of your week.
Maybe you already know precisely what you want to get done this week and can name your priorities without any trouble. But odds are you won’t have a complete answer on the spot. These 3 steps can help you along:
Start with your responsibilities. Ignore your to-do list and email for a moment. What are the things you’ll be evaluated on or judged by down the road? What objectives do you need to work towards? What key projects are you working on?
Set aside time blocks for your most important work. Maybe you’re familiar with the Eisenhower matrix, to help decide what work matters most. What work of yours falls in quadrant 2, the important but not urgent stuff?
Urgent work will always demand your attention. If you want to get to the important stuff, you’re going to have to schedule it.
Focus. Your list will likely get long fast. This is the time to scrap things. Limit yourself to the Top 3. You can always take up #4 if you finish the first three.
Thanks for reading and have a good week,