By: Adam Stone

Important vs Urgent - My Daily 3

As a marketer, I am fully bought in on Inbound/Content Marketing. As Director of Marketing for Prime Motor Group, I oversee our inbound strategy and content execution and I am very proud to say that we have seen very positive results. That said, my friend, Scott Davis has called me to the mat and challenged me to produce my own content and share some of my experiences with other marketers and colleagues in the automotive industry… Well Scott, here you go.

My daily top 3 — separating the important from the urgent

About 18 months ago I was flipping through my newsfeed on LinkedIn and found myself reading a fairly cliche article titled “10 things very successful people do.” Most of the 10 items were nothing I hadn’t seen before but there was 1 item on the list that really caught my attention. The author suggested that one thing successful people do is write down the 3 most important things they can accomplish that day and don’t end their day until they have succeeded on their top 3.

Now I have about a 45 minute commute to work in my car and my dad (who lives in Chicago) and I (I live in Boston) have dedicated our morning commutes to catching up over the phone. So the next morning after reading this article I hopped in the car and on the phone and told my dad about this great tip. He liked it so much that he suggested that we share our top 3 with each other every morning to add a little friendly accountability to the mix. The next morning we would not only make a new top 3 but also report on how we did the day prior.

The first week we did this it was great. We both felt focused and were rapidly accomplishing lots of very important daily tasks as a result. The following week it started to become harder to determine our top 3. Both of us probably have a daily list of about 35 to 60 things we have to “check off.” On busy days it always felt like urgent requests would make it difficult to get to a top 3 item done.

So one morning while talking we both came to the conclusion that we were stuck in a daily tug of war between the most important and the most urgent. Although urgent items need constant attention, when completed there is not the same sense of satisfaction that you get when completing something important. Some days it feels like you are on a treadmill — lots of activity, but going nowhere.

With this new perspective, we made a pact to only make important items part of the top 3. In order to do that it lead to weekly, monthly quarterly and annual goal setting. By setting big picture goals ahead of time it became much easier to create a list of the 3 most important things we need to do each day. Now when we completed a top 3 item it just didn’t help us get through the day, it helped us move toward reaching our goals.

Now we aren’t perfect, there are certainly days when we don’t get to the 3 most important things and urgent items win the tug of war. But with a renewed focus on our long term goals, our top 3 is getting done more times than not and both of us bring home a greater sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.

I don’t like to talk about things that I have accomplished, so I am not going to list my accomplishments. But I am very proud to talk about what my dad has done this past year. For over 40 years my dad has dedicated his medical career to fighting heart disease. He has worked long hours, nights and weekends, both in clinical and educational settings, all to try and help people lead healthier more fulfilling lives. Recently, my dad co-chaired an expert panel on cholesterol, playing a pivotal role in developing updated cholesterol prevention guidelines. The guidelines, released in November by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, will be used by thousands of healthcare professionals to manage their patients and promote cardiovascular disease prevention… Believe me, this is a big deal.

This past year he received the Physician of the Year Award from the American Heart Association in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of cardiovascular health.

So set your goals and start making your daily top 3. It worked for us and it can for you too.

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