It's much easier to answer the question "What's Important Now?" during an emergency. If you're in a life-threatening situation, your mind and body decide quickly if you should fight, flee or play dead. What's important now becomes crystal clear. Fortunately, most people don't experience life-or-death situations during their day. As a result, many leaders end up investing too much time reacting to urgent, low payoff priorities.
To make positive progress every day, you need to identify your number one priority for the morning, afternoon and evening. I know you are responsible for doing more than one thing before 12 p.m., 6 p.m. and 12 a.m., but positive leaders make daily progress on their most important personal and professional goals. Trying to accomplish too many objectives in 24 hours is a formula for failure.
Once your priorities are clear, the next step is to ask the..."What's Important Now?" I suggest asking it at the start of every hour, writing down your answer, and making a commitment to do what YOU SAY needs to be done. Narrowing your focus and working on your highest priority is essential to being successful in all areas of your life.
When you ask yourself..."What's Important Now?"...develop the habit of taking positive action quickly. If you take too much time deciding what to do or how to do it, minutes will turn into months, and projects that could have been completed today will turn into distractions tomorrow.
The people you lead in your personal and professional life also crave clarity. Everyone has too much to do and not enough time to do it. Your co-workers, clients, family members and friends need someone like you to help them get their most important projects started and finished on time. Nothing is more demoralizing and exhausting than going to bed wondering, "What did I accomplish today?"
The size of the goal or project doesn't matter. What's important is consistently taking the positive action required to make progress on your highest priority. Without a clear intention for how you want to spend each 60 minutes, you'll lose the daily fight against the never-ending distractions that vie for your attention as you try to go from where you are to where you want to be. Most of these detours seem like emergencies you have to address but, in reality, they're usually the result of lack of clarity or self-discipline. Anything you allow to divide your attention or concentration to such a degree that you stop working on your number one objective is your competition for that hour.
None of us can make our days longer, but we all have the power to invest the 24 hours we're given in a more positive and productive way. Asking the question, "What's Important Now?", every hour, will help you determine what you should and shouldn't do in order to make meaningful progress on your most important priorities...one hour at a time.