Savage counsel – forming new work habits

In a feature that first appeared in Encore, Chris Savage tackles your agency dilemmas in his weekly advice column.

Hi Chris,

In 2012 I almost killed myself trying to get everything done. If I only form one productive new habit in 2013, what should it be?

Only do what only you can do. That’s my new habit. Get as focused as you can about the things you are absolutely the right person to do, and delegate as much of the rest as you can. But that is easier for me to do as I am a key leader in my group.

So here’s another idea. Get very focused on lifting your efficiency – and do it by becoming a guru at prioritising. Here’s a technique that works. Look at your ‘To Do’ list every day. Divide the tasks into four buckets: a) important and urgent, b) important and not urgent, c) urgent and not important, d) not important and not urgent. Then make sure you are putting the right focus against the first two buckets while dealing with the urgent but not important stuff.

Plan your days in advance, carefully, and ensure you are making the important and urgent, and important but not urgent stuff the absolutely priority. And then stick to those priorities every day.

Train yourself to keep coming back to your key priorities, whatever the distractions. Obviously stuff will pop up unexpectedly that’s urgent and important – add those tasks to the top of the list.

And a final tip – take heed of this quote that I am told adorns the walls at the Facebook office in California. “Done is better than perfect.” Read that again. It’s powerful. Particularly for those perfectionists out there. As legendary US army chief General Patton famously said: “A good plan executed violently today is better than a better plan next week.”

Chris Savage is the chief operating officer of STW Group. His blog, Wrestling Possums with Chris Savage, can be found at chrisjohnsavage.com


This feature first appeared in the tablet edition of Encore. To download click on the links below.



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