We may think that the best way to maximize our time is to do more, faster. I thought the best way to do that was to multitask as quickly as I could. To accomplish more, I’d write emails while I was on the phone, or I’d talk to my assistant while eating lunch at my desk. The problem was that although I was working hard, at the end of my day sometimes I really didn’t even know what I’d accomplished.
It turns out that working harder is not always working smarter. In fact, much of my being always busy was about me avoiding uncomfortable actions or tasks. It was procrastination in hiding. I found some new concepts, though, that have increased both my efficiency and my production, which creates more time.
One thing I started doing was prioritizing uncomfortable actions. I told myself, “What we do is more important than how well we do it, and doing something well does not make it important.”
That phrase made me realize just because I was good at those emails and phone calls, it did not make those things a priority for my business. Yet, I was making them priorities by the amount of time I spent on them.
I quickly realized that I have lots of uncomfortable actions I avoid by doing something else. For those I must do, I prioritize. Every day, I write down the top three most uncomfortable actions and ask myself two questions on each.
- First question: If I were to complete this one task today, would the rest of my day feel accomplished?
- Second question: If I completed this task today, would it make my other tasks easier?
Initially, I felt uneasy with the experience of working smarter. I wasn’t doing my usual of going in a million different directions anymore. I realized, though, that the uneasiness was just created time. I didn’t know what to do with myself. This created time, however, allows me to work on the most important actions and focus on generating income as I also delegate busy work, which I was using as a form of procrastination.
This has propelled my practice as well as my personal life in a way I can’t begin to explain. I have more time, increased productivity and less stress.
So, work smarter, not harder. Attack your uncomfortable actions to find your lost time.
This was excerpted from the 2016 Top of the Table Annual Meeting presentation “Top of the Table 365.” (Court of the Table and Top of the Table member exclusive)
Branden Schiralli is a 17-year MDRT member from North Palm Beach, Florida, USA. He’s also a Top of the Table member.
Make the most of your time and increase your productivity with these ideas:
- Read “Stop multitasking” to learn a key to greater personal and professional productivity.
- Watch “How to determine if you value attention properly” from a 2020 MDRT Annual Meeting and Global Conference Virtual Event speaker (MDRT member exclusive).
- Read “Don’t do something; Just sit there” to discover an MDRT Past President’s time management tips. (MDRT member exclusive)