I recently worked with a client to help her to identify what she should be focusing her time and attention on in her new role. The role had just been created, and she had a great opportunity to really define her agenda and what she believed the key priorities to be over the next few years.
Most of us do not have such freedom or flexibility. We are often in roles where the agenda is already set, and the demands of the organisation shape what we spend our time on. So how do you make sure you are spending at least some of your time doing the work that really makes a difference, and at the same time, really motivates and inspires you?
While you may not have full control over the results you are expected to achieve, you can take control of what you spend your time on to achieve these outcomes.
When you focus your time and attention on ‘busywork’ like emails or low-value meetings, you may seem busy, but in reality the wheels are spinning but you get no traction. If this type of activity is all you did, you would DISAPPOINT.
When you focus on ‘business as usual’ – the core activities in your job description, you meet expectations, and you SATISFY the requirements.
But when you spend at least some of your time on ‘breakthrough’ activities, then you EXCEED. Your positioning, profile and reputation grow in the eyes of others, and your sense of motivation increases.
Breakthrough activities are the activities that really make a difference and have an impact. These activities are levers that shift things in a significant way, and stand out to others. They could be projects, or they could be valuable deliverables like reports you have created, presentations you have delivered or conferences you have planned. They have impact and satisfaction built in, but only if they are of high quality.
Which means you need to work on them proactively, not at the last minute. Which also means you need to plan and protect time for these activities in your busy schedule.
What BREAKTHROUGH activities could you focus on over the coming month?
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