- You don't have to react to every distraction. There are people who will come into your life, often dozens of times each day, without "knocking". They just appear in an email or phone call and want instant gratification. You can't please everybody and years ago Bill Cosby wrote: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
- Make a list. Personally, I'm back to hand-written lists. The app on my iPhone or my computer isn't enough. Writing it out long hand forces me to retain it longer in my memory. Here's where I wish I had all the brain cells I lost at concerts in the 70's! A written list helps me stay focused and I actually cross off each item as I finish it, giving me these great little bursts of accomplishment.
- Establish priorities! This is the hardest of all. It's impossible some times trying to isolate the most important aspects of your business on a daily basis, but if you knock off one really important thing every day it makes a difference.
- Long term vs short term: Everything in your business has a value. Some items are just a flash in the pan, others require the skills of a slow-cooker. Balance your day with projects that are both.
- Make decisions! I just wrote a post about this last week. The old rule I was given years ago with my first management job was, "Handle every piece of paper only once!" Well, we're not shuffling paper like we used to, but we are shuffling ideas, communications and projects. You can't walk down the middle of the road without getting "squished like a grape". (Check out this one minute classic from the original Karate Kid - it's still a great movie to watch!)
- And most important of all, take time to step back. That could mean literally moving ten feet away from your computer screen or taking a walk around the block or just taking a day off. You have to recognize when you're about to crash and burn and take the steps to avoid losing perspective.
Oprah gets the credit for this one:
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment!"