Click on the play button to find out more about choosing your Main Thing

In This Episode…

In this episode I decide to wax lyrical about the challenges I see people face in choosing to first of all identify and then focus on a Main Thing. Specifically, I cover:

  • Why I believe it is important to have a “Main Thing”.
  • The secret about Time Management, the gurus forget to tell you.
  • Multiple benefits of choosing focusing on your Main Thing.
  • How many challenges you face in choosing your Main Thing if you work in a large organisation.
  • The paradox you face when choosing to focus on a Main Thing.
  • The simple either/or priority choice that is the challenge you have.

Episode Show Notes…

00:09 – Today I am going to ponder on what I believe the difficulties are in choosing your main thing, especially if you work in a large organisation.

00:40 – I am a long time subscriber to the concept of Stephen Covey’s “Main Thing” because Time Management is a myth. We can’t manage time – 4.30pm will happen every day regardless of what you or I do. But we can manage what we focus on in that time.

01:23 – The key thing to personal productivity is focusing on the things that are most important to what we want to achieve.

01:32 – The problem is we are not only faced with lots of distractions and interruptions, but also we are hardwired to be drawn to them automatically.

02:06 – I am fortunate that in working for myself, I have a relatively uncomplicated job of choosing my Main Thing.

02:25 – If you work in a large organisation, things are somewhat harder for the following reasons:

  • The many competing demands and issues inherent in even small organisations.
  • The culture of connectivity where so many people are able to communicate quickly and easily about so many things resulting in a lot of “noise”.
  • A blurring of the lines of responsibility and accountability.
  • Office, departmental and company politics.

03:13 – Fundamentally our role in an organisation is to do a good job so we please our paymasters.

03:34 – There is a paradox here. On the one hand we want to achieve and do a good job but on the other hand we want to keep in our tribe’s good books.

03:43 – I am reminded of my favourite Russian proverb:

If you chase two rabbits you’ll catch none.

Russian Proverb

03:48 – Here are my views on multitasking:

  • It is both inefficient and ineffective (5 minutes face to face with me and I’ll categorically prove that to you)
  • It is a strategy that allows people the ability to have multiple touch points with lots of people thus “keeping the wolves at bay”
  • It creates activity but not efficient or effective achievement.

04:31 – As social animals (our survival as a species has very much depended on us cooperating and collaborating as a tribe), we don’t want to upset people.

04:52 – But if we want to achieve we will need to focus and concentrate and shut out distractions and ignore interruptions. This might incur the wrath of some of your tribe.

05:33 – It is not an easy choice to make with this conflicting priorities. Unfortunately the two options are becoming mutually exclusive.

06:14 – But if you make the choice of achievement over acceptance, the rewards can be many. But as I have found in the past, it may come with a short term political cost.

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