Published - May 2007
FROM THE ROAD
By Dave Jakielo
4 Steps to Success
Do you ever feel like your life or your career is spiraling out of control? Are you busier than ever but falling further and further behind? You are not alone many find that given the pressures of today’s new instant communication environment stress levels are rising.
How can we control or minimize the bombardment of emails, voice mails and phone calls that we receive on a daily basis? The key can be found by being proactive; we need to adopt the habit of “Planning” both on a daily and a long term basis.
Planning is multifaceted, it’s not just sufficient to focus on what we want to do; we must also focus on what not to do and what to stop doing. Many of us have heard of the 80-20 Rule and it also holds true for our personal productivity too.
Eighty percent of your results can be contributed to twenty percent of your efforts. The key is to make sure you concentrate on the correct twenty percent.
Without a plan it is easy to get side tracked and to get caught up tackling unimportant tasks that fall into the eighty percent category.
A critical error many of us make is we don’t block out time on our busy calendars for “Thinking and Planning”. Instead, most of our days are spent putting out fires, which have erupted because of our lack of planning. Setting aside quiet time to think and plan can get our creative juices flowing.
When we were youngsters using our imaginations and creativity was as automatic as breathing. Who cared what toy we got for our birthdays because the abandon cardboard box it came in became our clubhouse. Our favorite stuffed animals could come to life; the list could go on and on.
Then off to school we went and the teacher told us when to sit, when to talk and how to think. We went from being creative geniuses to memorization machines. They tried their best to squelch our creativity genes and they usually succeeded.
In the business world, our success in life is determined to a large extent by our ability to:
- Make a Decision
- Take Action
These four steps are the fundamentals of how we can live a proactive versus reactivate lifestyle. It is imperative to complete all four steps if we want to gain control of our daily lives. Skipping any of the above can cause a major disruption on the road to success.
First you need “thinking time”. You should spend 20 percent of your week somewhere void of distractions, a place where you can concentrate on current issues and develop possible solutions. The key is not to be distracted by coworkers, phone or emails.
Planning is the second step and your plan needs to be in writing. Record the steps you need to take in a journal, it can be electronic or use a spiral bound notebook. The key is to keep your plans organized plus you’ll have a history of what you have completed. Too many of us throw away our “to do” list after we have completed the listed items. By keeping track of your progress you will gain a sense of accomplishment when you flip back through your journal at what you have completed.
Next is the decision process. This is where many of us get hung up because we may be searching for the perfect solution. A successful leader is one who can make decisions with only 80 percent of the information. You’ll never have all the information you’ll need so “educated guesses” are a must to avoid stagnation.
Lastly, you must take action. You can develop a plan to have a beautiful garden this summer but until you prepare the soil, plant the seeds and water and fertilize when needed you just have an empty lot. I have a friend who has been writing a book for the past five years and every time I inquire on his progress he always has an excuse that someone is holding him up either his editor, illustrator etc. Funny how it’s never his fault.
Remember, we never have time to do everything but we always have time to do the most important things.
Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an International Speaker, Consultant, Executive Coach and Author and is celebrating his 12th year as President of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Billing and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. You can sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at www.Davespeaks.com. Dave can be reached via email Dave@Davespeaks.com phone 412/921-0976.