In This Episode…
After a 2 week sabbatical whilst I work on another podcast project, I am back and raring to go. It’s not that I haven’t been busy or there’s been nothing to share, but I needed to focus. In hindsight I probably wimped out but hey…it’s all a learning experience.
In today’s episode I look at how to get focused when there is so much to do
Episode Show Notes…
Prioritise & Execute
I am a huge admirer of the special forces community, especially the Naval ones. Part of that comes from a professional respect because of the brief exposure I had to that community during my own military service. But a lot of the admiration comes from the lessons that seasoned operators share in their books and videos when they have left the service.
There is a lot to be learned from ex-SEALs and ex-SBS. It’s not about sneaking behind enemy lines, enduring extreme physical hardships and taking on fortified bunkers armed with the latest technological know how. You and I are unlikely ever to need those skills.
However their skills in planning, leadership, communication, mind management, operating under stress, handling complex and rapidly changing situations and a whole host of other self management behaviours are things we can learn from.
One of the most inspirational and perhaps the most scary ex-SEAL is Jocko WIllink. His book “Extreme Ownership” written with Leif Babin marries the lessons learnt on the battlefield with situations applicable to the business environment.
It is a book I have read twice from cover to cover and one that I regularly dip into for inspiration. Yesterday I found myself in the chapter called “Prioritise & Execute”.
It is the simple (though not necessarily easy) approach to getting focused in situations where there is a lot going on.
As you can probably imagine, the modern urban warfare battlefield is a confusing, rapidly changing and dangerous environment with plenty going on. SEALs tend to get thrown into environments like that and much, much worse all the time.
With so much going on, they know they can’t deal with everything so they have learnt to Prioritise & Execute. They take a step back from what is going on, assess the situation, pick the most important thing that needs doing (Prioritise) and then get on with it (Execute) until it is done.
And then as the situation evolves, they repeat the process.
It sounds simple, but in the heat of battle, it is not easy. But SEALs train and train and train to make this automatic…that’s why they’re SEALs.
Whilst I don’t expect to find myself facing anything remotely like that, I do know I am faced with lots to do and the need to get it done.
And so after reading about Prioritise and Execute, that’s what I have started doing.
From the range of options I have of the projects that needed working on, I have to pick one and then run with it.
Everything else gets parked even if it means a few things might slip a little.
It’s a trade off I have to accept, just so I can make significant progress on one thing.
I get it to a point where I can park it without losing the gains I have made and then repeat the process.
The skill is being able to identify the One Thing to work on and then have the courage and discipline to suffer minor slippages elsewhere.
This is much easier to do when you know the effort you are putting in is creating the foundations for future success.
And that’s what I did a couple of weeks ago.
I prioritised my activity and then executed.
Unfortunately I had to park doing this podcast for a few days which eventually turned into two weeks. But it was a price I was willing to pay so I could make progress elsewhere.