“Priority” is the new Productivity

SuccessIn his roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com, Brian Patrick Eha makes a recommendation that violates the Principle of Priority.  Eha writes:

Do your hardest tasks first. Do your creative thinking and your most difficult work early in the day, before routine chores (handling emails, scheduling meetings and so on) have sapped your energy.

“Every decision we make tires the brain,” says David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute.  “Save less complex work for later in the day,” he adds.

Commentary:

In my 17+ years of teaching Productivity strategies to entrepreneurs who market online, doing the most difficult work early in the day is the surest way to diminish personal productivity.

My five-word definition of Productivity is “Maximum results in minimum time.” And by “results” I mean what’s most important to attain success, not what’s most urgent to maintain success.

It’s not about what’s difficult or creative or hard that matters. What matters most is to live into a more productive life is the importance of the tasks you tackle — in both personal AND professional life.

I agree with David Rock when he says “Every decision we make tires the brain,” but I disagree with his recommendation to “save less complex work for later in the day.”

These productivity tips may work for Eha and Rock, but they’re exceptions to works best of my students and me.  Having taught productivity strategies to over quarter of a million students on five continents, I’ve found the key driver to an entrepreneur’s productivity is priority; that is, starting with what’s most important to least important.

My friend and best-selling author, Stephen Pressfield writes about this in The War of Art: Breakthrough the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battle.  He calls it the Principle of Priority.

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.”

I agree with Stephen. Most entrepreneurs I teach never seem to reach the levels of business significance they deserve because they fail to focus on completing tasks that are most important to their business growth.  Instead, they focus on tasks that are most urgent for the maintenance of their businesses.  Big mistake!

If you want achieve the entrepreneurial success you know you’ve always deserved, focus on what’s most important, not what’s most urgent.  You may upset a few colleagues and customers for missing a few deadlines along the way, but you’ll soon discover that you get more of the important things done, faster, better and with less human effort.

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