We’re human. And in the process, we aren’t always strictly rational. Emotions drive our decisions and behaviours, and priorities and focus can easily be misplaced, depending on experience, perceptions, or simply, what we want to do.
I’m not going to say the tendency to focus time, energy and resources on activities that have little significance is wrong. However, it can be wise, from time to time, to remember what really matters, and ensure we don’t pour all our energies in trivia.
The annual or bi-annual planning/review meeting. Yes, you can get caught in the “we’ve always done things the way we have” but there are times when pulling everyone together for a serious review of your business plans, objectives and marketing strategies can really pay off.
The extra set of eyes. Periodically, ask someone who wouldn’t normally have responsibilities in your area of interest to review your work and initiatives. Your goal is to gather insights from another perspective and then look at where it takes you.
Take some time off. Really. A break can refresh your perspective. More importantly, if you need to delegate your work to others, the delegation/explanation process can help you to set and review your priorities.
Even doing these things, I expect I spend a whole lot of my time on activities that may be less than perfectly effective or valuable. And so, unless you are someone truly exceptional, you also probably have some — in terms of immediate productivity — misplaced priorities. Not to worry. In the end, you’ll mostly get what needs to be done, but remember, if you can improve your productivity/effectiveness by 10 per cent, and magnify that through your entire organization, you’ll achieve a significant competitive advantage.