The Corporate Law Group

Do What Matters

do-what-mattersOne of the hardest things to do is perform triage on your day. Figure out what matters and what doesn’t. The bad news is that almost everything you did yesterday probably doesn’t really matter. We struggle with this all the time. Do you respond to that email asking where you are staying at the next conference, or figure out the three things users hate most about your product? The email is easy. The three things are hard. And they matter.

One way to tell what matters is to ask yourself what is bugging you the most. What project do you NOT want to start? That’s the one to tackle. It already has too large a share of your mind. You might as well kill it, skin it, and make a belt. Maybe once you dig in you find it completely overwhelming and decide it’s time to get help fixing it. In any event working on it will make you feel better. And if you are worrying about it, it matters.

A second way to tell what matters is to ask yourself what has to happen today. What can’t wait? What happens tomorrow whether you prepare or not? A test? A presentation? A meeting? If it’s happening tomorrow you’d better make sure you are preparing today.

A third way to tell what matters is to imagine what tomorrow looks like when some particular great thing is finished. Want tomorrow to look great compared with today? Work on it now. Figure out that one thing that makes tomorrow great and get to work.

These three daily task triage metrics might conflict. But when the thing that scares you most, the thing that has to happen today, and the thing that makes tomorrow look great conflict with each other, at least you’re focused on the right stuff. The things that matter.