Engage- Making Best Action Choices

Doing: Making Best Action Choices

When it come to real time, get-it-done work-day, how do you decide what to do at any given point?

This is where you are the best judge of what your priorities are and what you trust is the best use of time. But most of us are not trained to step back and define what would be the best use of our time and we end up doing the work as it shows up. This will not work most of the time if we do not renegotiate our commitment to getting the things done that are already on our various lists.

David Allen suggest these priority frameworks:

50,000- Life- Direction- purpose

40,000- 5-10 year goals- Vision

30,000- 1-2 year goals - Strategy

20,000- KRA- Areas of responsibilities- Sales, Marketing, Systems, BD, Delivery

10,000- Current projects- 12 Week Year

Runway- Current actions

Four criteria model for choosing actions

  1. Context

  2. Time available

  3. Energy available

  4. Priority

50,000- Life- Direction- purpose This may not look as something that is going to help you get things done at the ground level but believe me, it is the place to start. Because many people go though their work and life which is defined by career progression and monetary rewards associated with it. But most of them are constantly unhappy and stressed because they don’t even like what they are doing. Steven covey had this expression - We are so busy trying to climb the ladder of success that we do not realize that it is leaning against the wrong wall. You could be working very had and very smart but if your direction is not right, you are only going to reach the wrong destination faster.

The good news is you do not have to stop doing everything that you are doing to define the direction of your life, but this is important enough for you to consider taking time out and working on it as you go though this exercise.

40,000- 5-10 year goals- Vision

How do you see yourself in the future? What do you see yourself doing, becoming in next 5-10 years?

When I was trying to this exercise, I was still in the hospitality industry working as a chef; And it was a scary thought for me to see myself as a chef working in a kitchen in 10 years- somehow that thought did not appeal me at all. I saw my self more as an executive making decisions in a board room. That vision had an appeal for me.

We all have that ability to define that vision for ourselves- For some, they just know it. For the rest of us, we have to deliberately seek and define it. Holding that vision in your mind and moving in that general direction is the first step towards realizing your purpose and happiness.

30,000- 1-2 year goals - Strategy

What is it that you would like to see yourself achieve, accomplish in the next 1-2 years? Most of us who have careers have some idea of what it would be like- the next promotion, completion or launch of a project. We also decide many other goals based on that- to get married, to buy that house, or to move to the different country or city. But without the solid foundation of the first and the second step- it is like putting all your eggs in one basket and that too without knowing if it is the right goal for you?

Assuming you do know your 1-2 year goals, you need two steps to clarify this strategy:

  • A clear outcome and how it would look like once you have achieved it.

  • Step-by- step milestones to be achieved to get to the final goal.

20,000- KRA- Areas of Responsibilities

What different hats do you wear during the course of your day? Out of the hundreds of things that you have to do, meetings to attend and presentations to make, which are the most important ones- What are your key results areas. This step ensures that what your focus is, it is aligned to what your 1-2 years strategy is. It is not possible for you to focus on too many things and produce brilliant results. You can focus on one or max two areas to get the best results. While helping his personal pilot to create a life plan, Warren Buffet asked him to make a list of 25 things that he would like to achieve in the next 2-3 years. Once he had done that, he asked him to identify the top 3 goals. After a long deliberation, when he finally did it. Warren asked him to just focus on the 3 top goals and asked him to throw away the list and not look at it until he had achieved the top three. A great resource- a book - which talks about focusing on lesser details is -Essentialism.

He says that the word Priority was singular until the 1940's. It is with the advent of the industrial age that consultants and managers started to us ethe plural form- 'Priorities' as if just by using the plural form they will be able to squeeze more into their calendar. You cannot have a list of 10 priorities!

10,000- Current projects

What is on your plate right now? What are the projects you are working now? What are your time bound deliverables currently? These projects and deliverable will decide what goes on your daily calendar. What actions hold priority over others. How do we put to best use the limited amount time that we all have. You will probably have Quarterly, monthly or weekly targets. We are good at planning these because they go on our calendar. But however, we plan, there is never enough time for you to accomplish all the things that you believe you have to do. This is the place where keeping multiple balls in the air becomes important for you. This is where you use the GTD method to make sure all the things coming towards everyday are captured and organized, so your mind is free to handle things in the moment. We have talked about the workflow management in detail earlier in the post.

Here it is important for you to define your life as a whole and not just as your work or career. As we are a part of the larger system our calendar is scheduled with the to-do lists of our work, family and other aspects of our life get pushed to the back burner if we are not careful.

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