- Posted by Liz Gooster
- 2 Comments
- achievements, goal setting, goals, priorities, the power of three
Following a great response to my previous blog post inspired by my Direct Line for Business calendar, I’ve looked to March’s page for inspiration. The suggestion for this month is to have no more than three priorities at any one time, on the grounds that ‘identifying three priorities will enable you to work with focus and pace and, over time, deliver far more than if you tried to do ten things at once’. This sounds like intrinsic common sense and the reason it particularly resonates with me is that it echoes a recent conversation I had with a super-successful businesswoman. I was impressed by the number of big, chunky activities she manages to balance – a high-octane career in the financial services sector, delivery of leadership development programmes for thrusting senior executives, regular business writing, non-exec roles. Curious about the techniques and tools other people use to keep their portfolio careers running smoothly and meeting the needs of both themselves and their various clients/companies, I asked her how she did it. She didn’t have to think too hard before replying that she was driven by defining (and writing down) three overriding priorities for every quarter. She then uses these to shape how she organises her time, as well as to help decide what new projects and commitments she takes on, and to what timeframe.
So this piece of advice about having three priorities has come to me through two different sources over the last couple of weeks. Taking the time to think hard about the three most important priorities for you, right now, and for the coming three months, and then writing them down, can really bring a laser focus to your commitment, energy and momentum towards these priorities. Allow yourself to think ahead to three months’ time and ponder this question: ‘What three things, if you achieve them, will have made the biggest impact on your goals for this year?’. With all the urgent things we constantly have stacked up on our ‘to do’ lists, it’s not always an easy question to answer! This is all the more reason to tackle it, as otherwise it’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to those things which shout the most vociferously; getting bogged down in time-consuming but relatively low-profile tasks; or doing lots of ‘quick wins’ to get that buzz of completing things, but not moving any closer to your longer-term objectives. You can of course use other time periods instead of three months. Personally, I’m a big fan of the power of three, so I like the way this is compounded by having three priorities for three months, but you can use whatever time frame works for you.
I complacently thought I already did this, but when I reviewed my various lists and plans, I realised I didn’t have three clear priorities for this quarter, written down in an accessible place so that I can regularly remind myself of them. I immediately felt their lack, so have now got my first three priorities and have made a commitment to myself to update them every three months from now on! Do you know what your top three priorities are?
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I like to describe myself as happily ‘At Large’ in an independent portfolio career, balancing executive coaching, maternity coaching, leadership development and coach training. Other interests include travel writing, literature, fitness, food and drink. Connect with me on Twitter @lizgooster.