It’s incredibly easy to get sucked into the day, every day. You can get lost in email, lost in meetings, lost in your RSS feed or social networks. You can feel busy, pulled in a thousand directions, and yet not make forward progress for yourself, your team or your business.
The trick, of course, is to go into the day with a plan, with priorities, and stay focused on what’s most important. You have to be both focused and disciplined to get the most important work done and ignore distractions (both external and internal) that will derail you.
As part of your daily routine, I recommend ensuring the following five things become core to how you build value, deliver external results, and improve yourself for future success.
Devote time to learning from others – live, online, in books and magazines, via podcasts and Webinars. Scan the email newsletters you receive (and have them auto-filtered into a special folder as to not distract from core work in your primary inbox). However you do it, devote time each day to making yourself better and smarter.
In other words, create something. Make something new that will attract more people to you, and help you make more money. This isn’t just for software developers and manufacturers. This is for those who write white papers, design email templates, build new landing pages, and test new sales scripts. No matter your role, the more you build, the more likely you’ll have something that furthers your objectives and sales targets.
It would be easy to combine this with the “Learn” objective above, because a huge part of meeting new people and staying in touch is what you learn from them, in a variety of ways and contexts. Network in a way that helps you meet new people every day – online and offline – and provide immediate value back to them in the process.
Your product, your services, your abilities, your ideas. Selling doesn’t always require the exchange of money. Have a great new idea but need your manager’s approval to move forward? Sell it. Need an extra round of funding for your start-up to finish that new product? Sell it. Need to drive higher response for your next lead generation Webinar? Sell.
This is the catch-all, and it’s easy to think of almost anything as “doing”. But checking your email doesn’t count. Setting up another meeting doesn’t count either. Define your “doing” based on external impact. What are you doing that has real, directional impact on your business, your customers, your own personal and professional aspirations? Define that narrowly, specifically, and start doing.