Several years ago I read an article by my friend, Jim Revegno, entitled, “To Increase Your Success Rate, Just Say NO!” In his article, Jim states the more he works with successful people, the clearer it becomes that highly productive people actually work far less than failures. They don’t work as hard, they work fewer hours, and they experience fewer frustrations, while achieving more and earning greater rewards.
What? Could this be true? I’ve since spent considerable time pondering this idea and I’ve experimented with this concept in my day-to-day dealings. I believe Jim has hit on a characteristic that most successful individuals share. They have a plan and they refuse to be distracted. They know the difference between what is vital and what is urgent. They say “no” when necessary. They understand the power of focus.
Let me share my personal strategy for staying focused. Every morning I create my “thrive on five” action list. Five is my magic number – I guess because I can number the tasks on one hand and this helps me to remember them throughout the day! These are the vital business actions or activities I must accomplish that day in order to stay on track with my business goals. I like to write these five items in my daily planner as well so I have the pleasure of crossing off each task as soon as it is completed. I thrive on accomplishing these five tasks and realize without this plan, the urgent distractions that are always just around the corner could keep me from the daily priorities that are vital to my business success.
Many years ago Robert Allen taught me the principle of doing the “feared thing first” and to this day, the first of my “thrive on five” items I tackle is the one I want to do the least. Hilton Johnson calls this process – “eating frogs for breakfast.” Let me give you an example. Let’s say your “thrive on five” list includes the following:
1. Scheduling a webcast with a new distributor
2. Sending a mass e-mail to your downline organization
3. Calling an associate who has left a negative message on your answering machine
4. Doing a follow-up call with a prospect
5. Registering for convention
If this were my “thrive on five” list, I’d put a #1 next to – contacting an associate who has left a negative message for me. Why? Do I really want to go all day long worrying about my unhappy distributor? I need to get that unpleasant business out of the way. It is vital that I nip the problem in the bud before that distributor affects others in my organization. I need to get that frog off my plate so I can go on to have an enjoyable, productive day!
With each task ask yourself, “Is this vital or urgent?”…and whenever possible, focus on the vital. Remember that focus (backed up by action) creates the results you desire.