High Value Focus for a High Performing Life!

focus productivity Jan 09, 2024

Have you ever finished a workday and thought “I got nothing done!”? There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the motions, completing tasks, and feeling unfulfilled. Why does this happen? It could be that you’re working on tasks versus high value activities.

To be a high performer, we need to focus on high value activities. What exactly are those? Activities that move the needle, that make a difference, that have a meaningful impact.

How do we determine what those are? An assessment of your current reality is in order. Let me explain. I was working with a coach, and I was complaining that I felt I was busy but not impactful. He challenged me to do an exercise that opened my eyes to where my time was being spent. He encouraged me to take a full week, and as tedious as it was, make a note of everything I was doing in time blocks. I was astonished at the work I was doing that I could have paid someone else to be doing. It also brought light to a team member who consistently pulled me away from my work so I could troubleshoot their challenges. It made me realize that only about 5% of my time was spent on high value activities, the rest of my day was spent putting out fires or completing mundane tasks. If you haven’t done this exercise and you feel stuck or frustrated with your progress on a project, I highly encourage you to do this exercise. Is it a pain? You bet, but it will be worth the investment so you can identify areas of distraction and opportunities for total focus and growth.

What Areas Need Your Focus?

What are the areas that require your complete focus and require talents that are uniquely yours? Is it operational, strategic, time spent recruiting and developing your team? Put value on your time. If you’re in a leadership role, take the total revenue of the company, divide the number by 2000 (working hours a year) and that’s the value activity you need to be working on. For example, if your company revenue is nine million, then you need to be valuing your time at $4500/hour tasks. Keep a sticky note by your computer with that magic number. This will help you check in and course correct when you feel you’re being pulled in to $100/hour work. Delegate instead!

Remove Obstacles

Remove the obstacles that will distract you from your high value tasks. For example, if you have an “open door policy” notify the team when you’re going head down and need uninterrupted focus time. Get drawn in by the allure of social media notifications, mute notifications for social as well as social WhatsApp chats. Work from home and have family members pop in to say “hi”?  Let people know you’re working with total focus and need your time respected. Removing distractions and being one hundred percent present will accelerate your progress!

Eat the Frog First

Lastly, eat the frog first! Identify your most important task the night before and do it before you check any email, phone messages or social notifications. Spending the first hour of your day on that high value task and making progress on it, will give you a strong sense of purpose and impact!

In summary, recognize that we’re all challenged with doing busy work not purposeful work. Remember this checklist below for maximum return on your time!

  1. Assess current HVAC
  2. Identify top tasks
  3. Remove obstacles
  4. Eat the Frog first 

Any other productivity tips to drive results? Would love to hear from you!


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