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I had one of those days yesterday where I felt really productive. I responded to lots of queries and at the end of the day I felt like I’d achieved a lot. Then I looked at my ‘to do’ list and was disappointed to see that the important things I had planned to do were still outstanding. Does that sound familiar?

After getting over my initial disappointment I was reminded of a quote from Peter Drucker,

“There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.”

So if you have days where you productively deliver the wrong things, whilst doing the right things continues to elude you, what can you do?

  1. Get up early. I really believe that getting up early helps develop a discipline that when used properly translates into success throughout your day. Use the time you gain from being an early riser to review your goals and plan your day so that you focus on what you need to achieve before the events of the day hit you.
  2. Eat the frog. This probably sounds like a bizarre phrase but basically it’s about prioritising. By mapping all the items on your ‘to do’ list against two axis, what you want to do and what you need to do, you will have a list of items that ranges from those things that you really don’t want to do but are a high priority through to things that would be pleasant to do but won’t actually deliver that much value. Most people will take the easy road and get stuck into the lower value tasks first, eating the frog means doing the opposite.
  3. Say no. We all get distractions, the person who pops by for a chat, the quick phone call you take that turns into much more of a disruption or the email that drops into your inbox that catches your eye. Saying “no” feels difficult, it might offend the other person but if you want to avoid disappointment at the end of the day, my advice is learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  4. Review your day. Use the last 30 minutes of your day to reflect and review your day. Make notes on what you did and didn’t do but also think about the way you achieved things. What learning can you take into the next day to get more focussed on doing the right things right?

So, here’s my challenge to you. Try the four steps to doing the right things right for two weeks and see what difference it makes. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed…..

About the song:

Everybody probably knows Johnny Marr from his days as one part of the creative force that was The Smiths. His ‘guitar for hire’ journey helping bands like The Pretenders, The The and The Cribs alongside his partnership with Bernard Sumner to form Electronic only adds to his legacy. This song is from his debut album “The Messenger” shows he’s lost none of his guitar playing genius whilst showing an under rated effort behind the microphone too!