Written by Anthony Demangone
I'm on my way to State College, Pennsylvania today to give a talk at the Big 10 Credit Union Conference. After that, I'm off to West Chester for one of my best friend's wedding. All-in-all, I had one full day in the office this week.
I'll take my laptop with me, and I'll do my best while on the road. But my productivity will drop off a good deal while I'm away. But I can tell you this...
I got a heck of a lot of things done on Monday.
And why is that? With the trip looming and the clock ticking, I focused on what had to get done. I cut out the rest. In other words, I prioritized.
There are a number of books and articles on prioritizing. Such as...
First Things First: Prioritizing Production. (Processimpact.com)
How to Prioritize When Everything is Important. (Lifehacker.com)
No is the New Yes: 4 Practices to Prioritize Your Life (HBR.org)
The Problem with Priorities. (HBR.org)
The articles seem to strike a common theme. What is critically important to your members? Unless you have spare time, focus on those "mission critical" issues. Learn to say no to everything else.
Sometime, it takes a major economic or business disaster to spur many companies to prioritize. Non-critical functions were allowed to take up valuable resources and time while times were good. When good times turned to bad, those companies suddenly were faced with a choice: prioritize or go away.
With that in mind, let me ask you a few questions.
- What are your credit union's absolute priorities? What must you deliver/accomplish?
- What percentage of your credit union's time is spent focused on those key issues?
- On a personal level, what must you absolutely accomplish? What is most important for you as a manager/executive?
- Are there things that you do that take you away from your important priorities?
Please understand me - I won't even pretend that NAFCU has cornered the market on always being able to prioritize. Nearly every organization struggles with this issue. The more, however, we can eliminate the unnecessary and focus on the "must haves," the better off we'll be.
I need to start treating every day like my Monday. Just imagine...