Jun 22, 2017 • 15M

LA 060: The Secret Keys to Getting (the right) Stuff Done

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Dr John Kenworthy
Helping marketplace leaders #UnStuck their true potential to thrive in life and leadership to build a successful, sustainable business with collaborative, high performance teams and Joy@Work with practical, neuroscience-based AdvantEdge Guides and coaching.
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I am an excellent procrastinator! I can put things off for absolutely no better reason than I don't feel like doing them right now. Of course, I have plenty of excellent excuses, and I believe all of them. Until I choose not to. So I force myself to do the stuff I don't really feel like doing and keep at it until I do feel like doing it. Until that moment where I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I learned the real origin of that phrase, by the way, in 1993. The Standedge Tunnel is the longest and highest canal tunnel in England on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal between Diggle and Marsden. I lived, at the time, right above the tunnel. It was closed when I lived there, slowly being renovated to allow pleasure boats to go through. I would often break through the barriers blocking the entrance to walk through the tunnel with visitors to enjoy this unique piece of history. Legging-boat-normal.jpgNot only is the tunnel long, it has a bend. And in the 1800's you had to "leg it" to propel your barge through. The horses would be taken over the hill to rejoin the boat on the other side. This was a hard slog and on the way from Diggle to Marsden, tired barge "leggers" would be happy to come around the bend and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I learned a couple of things from my mentor, Dr John C. Maxwell, that has helped me and many other enormously in getting stuff done. Better still, getting the right stuff done. Here are five keys to getting (the right) stuff done: Make choices Use the Pareto or 80/20 Principle Understand if it is important and/or urgent Apply the 3 R's, and Use the Rule of Five The Problem is procrastination... or is it? One of the main reasons you and I procrastinate is that we don't want to give up our options. And it's a real dilemma. Just today I had to make a choice about a sandwich to eat for lunch. If I took the steak sandwich that meant I couldn't (or shouldn't at least) take the chicken avocado sandwich. IF I do this, then I won't be able to do that. What if I make the wrong choice? What if I should have chosen differently. And then, we'll go through past decisions to guide current thinking. But the past is filled with the regrets of "if only". If only I had not started smoking when I was 9 years old, perhaps today I would not be suffering heart disease. If only I hadn't done that thing first, I wouldn't be facing this problem today. You and I battle these two enemies of making choices through every decision. Maybe you've gotten over the doubts for some things, but other matters will leave you prevaricating for hours. Ask a man to choose a paint colour from a chart. Ask a woman to choose just a single pair of shoes. So secret number 1 is that we have to make choices. There are limited time and energy available in a day. The secret to getting the right stuff done is choosing to do the right stuff! Duh, John, of course it is. But how do I choose the "right stuff"? I'm glad you asked. The second secret key to getting the right stuff done is identifying whether the thing is important and/or urgent Most clients when I ask them, tell me that they prioritise based on urgency trumping importance. That is they do the stuff that they should delete because it is urgent and then don't have time to do the stuff that matters. This leads to stress and lack of accomplishment. Great leaders know the difference between being busy and accomplishment. It really doesn’t matter how busy you are. It’s what you achieve that makes a difference. This was one of my big weaknesses. And, if I am not careful, can easily be again. I can easily get distracted by something new and shiny… especially some new technology. I am getting better, but it still requires my self-discipline and diligence to keep this up. Time and again I hear excuses from people that they didn't have time to do something. They'll tell me, for example, that their kids or their family are the most important thing in their life. They mean it to