Creating a to-do list is the easy part. Determining what the highest priorities are and how much capacity you have to complete them is the challenge.
Creating a realistic to-do list and prioritizing it is one of the foundational elements I work to master with companies as part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®). We call it setting Rocks.
A Rock is something big that is a priority to complete in the next 90 days.
Determine what your goals are for the year, define them well, then break them down into quarterly chunks, or Rocks. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It really is, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into obstacles along the way. Here are a few of those obstacles:
You think you can do more than you actually can.
It’s human nature to think we have more time available to work on things, but the day to day hustle and bustle will get in the way. Be reasonable in setting your Rocks.
You may think you have to set more Rocks than you actually do.
People tend to think if they set 10 rocks and get 7 done, they are better off than if they only set 5 and do all of them. The fallacy in this thinking is the more you dilute your focus, the less you actually complete. Odds are when you set 10 you will only complete 3 or 4. The damage is twofold. You don’t complete as much actual work and you feel worse about it because your completion percentage is poor.
Your priorities are not set properly
My clients often set Rocks because they say they “have to get ________ done this quarter, so let’s make it a Rock”. You would be surprised how often the “Have to do” rocks are not done. That “have to” was not really a priority after all.
Prioritizing is hard
Once you grasp the concept of “less is more”, the ability to actually prioritize is harder than you may think. If you have 15 things you could do, but only have time for 4, then you have to say no to 11 things for right now. Which ones are the right 4 to work on now?
Creating clarity about “what done looks like” is easier said than done.
Rocks need to be defined, measurable, broken into steps/stages. Rocks can’t be vague or you will rationalize that whatever you do with it means it is done.
The procrastination factor
It’s human nature to let yourself get sucked into the daily grind and procrastinate starting the Rock. Several weeks pass and nothing has been accomplished. As Steven Covey says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
If you need help with setting priorities and executing better, contact me. I would be happy to help you!
For additional reading on the topic of Rocks, check out these EOS Worldwide posts: