Major on the Minors, Minor on the Majors

Facing life each day, we all make this mistake. We spend time on the wrong stuff. Priorities get mixed up. Big things get forgotten or set aside while little things get all our attention; both emotional and physical. We major on the minors and minor on the majors.

overwhelmed

Why do we do this? Mainly because the little things seem easier to knock out. We fool ourselves into thinking “I’ll spend a minute finishing this or that, then I’ll get to the big thing.” Pretty soon the day is gone and none of the big stuff gets accomplished.

So we push it off for tomorrow. We wake up and do it all over again. The next thing we know, a major deadline has gotten missed.

How to fix it

I’m reminded by Chuck Swindoll, longtime spiritual guide and virtual mentor of mine, there are three ways to avoid majoring on the minors. We have to review, reject, and renew. Let’s unpack the meaning.

Review

We must be able to review what we are choosing to do. A review has to happen frequently. As you set priorities, the only way to keep them in sight is to review where you are.

Our brains have an amazing capacity to do this in our subconsciousness. Have you ever been driving and suddenly realized you’ve spent the last 10 minutes and have no sense of driving at all? Why? Because we set our minds on a destination with a proven way to get there. Our brains take over and help us maneuver the vehicle without thinking about it.

While I don’t recommend driving this way routinely, you can apply the same truth to achieving goals. If you set your mind to them daily, your brain will tune in to a frequency that gets you there.

I am a big fan of the decision box made famous by Dwight Eisenhower  (see below). It has four quarters with a scale for urgent versus important. Put your to-do items into one of the quadrants. Then you’ll get a better picture of what you need to be doing.

Reject

Reject the clutter. Keep your head clear of unnecessary noise and distraction. Reject the temptations to do the piddly little things before more meaningful goals have been accomplished.

I love the day timer apps and books that allow you to set the right goals as priorities, then help you keep them in proper focus.

Further, if you have to, unplug for brief periods throughout the day. Turn off email, Facebook, and other electronics that have a temptation to draw you in. Intentionally set up some productivity windows for full focus on the big rocks.

Renew

Keep your mind fresh. Take breaks. Get up and walk around to clear your head and give you the power to reconnect.

Watch out though for finding something else to do. Avoid the urge to multi-task.

Find new and inspiring articles, books, and other content to consume rather than junk mail. Keep yourself stocked with fresh ideas and new ways to look at things.

Ever thought about hiring a coach to help you become a better you?

Ever thought about hiring a coach to help you become a better you?

Summary

Using these three key ways to set your sights on the right priorities will help you major on the majors. Cheers to better productivity!

Question: What are you doing to become more productive? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Originally posted on DougThorpe.com

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  • Roger Ferguson

    I continue to pitch Big Five Performance Management as an ideal way to plan and prioritize your month so that you and your team are focused on the highest priorities. Good stuff, Doug!