On my wall, I have a print by artist Brian Andreas that states:
the day she figured out
there was exactly enough time
for the important things in her life.”
(“Enough Time,” Brian Andreas, Storypeople)
How many times have you, too, needed a reminder when you’ve lost focus, gone off on a tangent, dealt with the immediate rather than the long term, the urgent rather than the important?
My web design wizard, Steve Bullock, created a state-of-the-art visual image for my natural, organic and sustainable products consulting business. I used the website debut to introduce (or reintroduce) friends, colleagues and potential clients to my marketing consulting services.
Four days after I launched the site and started driving traffic to it via emails, tweets, electronic press releases and other methods of showcasing Sage Advice Marketing Consulting, I received a phone call from my family that my mother’s health was declining rapidly. I dropped everything, and two hours later was on a plane going home.
For the coming weeks, nothing of importance existed for me outside the cocoon of my immediate family, as my siblings and I sat vigil with my mother at the end of her life. The unfolding events were no longer my agenda or on my timetable; but they constituted my single priority.
Urgent vs. Important
What does this have to business and marketing? My situation was an easy call to make. The essence of what was really important in my life was contained in one small room. But how many times in business have we lost our sense of what really matters and instead:
- Devoted resources to a project because it was fun or high-profile; knowing that it wouldn’t advance the business?
- Spent time dealing with a difficult, mis-hired employee; leaving no time to encourage and mentor the stars?
- Put off hiring expert help for a program because it could be done internally; slowing down other projects and overtaxing the team?
- Focused on doing the newest, latest thing; failing because there was no marketing strategy in place to guide and evaluate the results?
- Engaged in busy work within a comfort zone; neglecting the key priorities because: (fill in your own rationale) ________________.
The Most Important Things
Have you identified the top priorities that mandate you drop everything and turn a laser focus on those imperatives? What’s stopping you from eliminating the drains and distractions that keep you from achieving your goals? And how will you filter the noise to have exactly enough time for the most important things in your life?