Deciding What To Do Each Day

Gee, what do I want to do today?

If you ever started your day by asking yourself that same question then pay very close attention because the question above is the beginning of an ineffective day.

Strategic entrepreneurs don’t start out their day asking “what do I want to do?” They ask themselves “What are the most important, highest leverage activities that need to get done?” and create a list of the most important activities that answer the question.

After that, they estimate the amount of time each activity should take.

Next, they analyze the list of important activities that must get done and determine which activities they should do themselves and who they are going to get to do the remaining activities.

Then when they start work they tackle the most important, highest leverage task or activity first. They do not ask the question of themselves “which one of these task do I want to do now?”

Remember no entrepreneur is born effective you have to cultivate it and you do that by practicing the habits of effectiveness. You wouldn’t want an employee who worked on what they chose and you should respect your business at the very least as much as you want your team to.

Here’s a quote from the Harvard Business Review, June 2004 p59

“Jack Welch realized that what needed to be done at General Electric when he took over as chief executive was not the overseas expansion HE WANTED to launch. It was getting rid of businesses that, no matter how profitable, could not be number one or number two in their industries.”

Today be conscious of the choices you make when deciding what to work on.

Are you picking tasks based on what you want or are you picking your activities based on what your company needs from you?

If you pick the most important task to work on first you’ll be more effective, your company will be more profitable, and you’ll be able to work less so you can actually pick fun things to do outside of work instead of the poor substitutes you’ve been using to fill your work days.

So remember – it’s not what you want to do – it’s what your business needs done.

To Increased Effectiveness,

Rich Schefren

9 thoughts on “Deciding What To Do Each Day”

  1. Dan Caron refered me to this site. Looks very impressive! Subscribed to the RSS feed.

    Here are my thoughts on this post… Instead of starting out the day by deciding the important things to do, end your day by deciding the important things to do tomorrow.

    This way, you’ll have 3 things: sleep, morning walk and shower – which helps in generating those “eureka” moments.

    “Creations involve a period of conscious work, followed by a period of unconscious work.” – Henri Poincare (while researching how breakthrough moments occur.)

  2. Vital points.

    First thing I do is review and update a list of my notable accomplishments. This puts me in a high self-esteem mode.

    Then I review and update my Promise Plan. This then focuses me on what is truly important. Then I decide what I can do today that will move my Plan forward.

    These two tasks take 10 mins and have completely revolutionized what I do and achieve. Never before I have been so focused and oddly, never before I have achieved so much.

  3. Hi Rich,

    I look forward to the teleseminars. This appears the only way to conatct you. I’m in Australia. 7PM UK time, Pacific … or ??

    Yes, you have to take action and prioritize – but it’s easy to spend too much time on one thing.

    For example, if you are a one person business, you could spend too much time on creating a product, and not enough on promotion or keeping in touch with your current customers. I think you need to make a finite time for each activity which is an important aspect of your job / business that has to be done. Split your day into 1 hour segments. Make sure that you do something to build traffic to your site, something to create a product or find something to sell, something to promote your existing products, and so on. Then prioritise activities within each time segment.

    I like the idea of writing down something you have achieved the previous day – no matter how little it was, it was a positive step. You see that you are making progress.

    In regards to output, I recommend being accountable to others. Form a network, find a buddy or two and be accountable to each other. An example:

    For many people, there is a tendency to first look at the overnight emails and not be productive for well into the day. Decide to be productive immediately and start a ‘First Hour Club’ with your buddies.

    Each day you need to report to each other (perhaphs through your own private ‘Yahoo Group’) and list what you did that was productive in that first hour of the day. It’s surprising how much extra you will achieve.

    Best Wishes all,

    Peter Taylor

  4. Rich,

    I agree with this concept completely, but have had great difficulty in implementing it myself. Self-discipline is a major thing I have to work on. Your explanation of how to achieve this, including a couple of your posts following the above post are the most helpful I have seen. Thanks for the thoughtful help.

    I also like Ankesh Kothari’s suggestion to end the day with planning the next rather than getting up and planning the day in the morning. That should definitely make sleeping easier knowing you were set to go when you get up.

    Best of luck to everyone,
    Jay Altman

  5. I really like the viewpoint shift I got from your info. It is amazing how much busy work one can do in a day and feel like crap at the end of it all as you have not produced anything of value.Keep up the good work

  6. Like many other international consultants I find nothing new in what I have read so far. Your Manifesto contains basic material included in most management courses in higher education. However, you do have superior Internet marketing knowledge that at my age of 73 years I envy. I wish you well.

    Chris Cruden.

  7. A very helpful reminder – thank you. I recently attended a seminar where the keynote said, “Do the hardest things, or the tasks you don’t like doing first thing in the morning… then the rest of the day feels like a holiday.”
    This resonated with me… and it is very true. I enjoy your emails Rich.


  8. I endorse the idea of planning the evening before what you are going to do the next day and the order in which you are going to do it. In fact I often do a mind video of the task itself
    Best wishes

  9. I kind of agree with the idea of this post but I wonder if it’s too strict.

    Jack Welch is a personal hero of mine and his “1, 2, or sell” mantra totally changed the bloated structure of GE.

    However, this is hard to translate into online marketing because just about every idea is being done by someone in some way. If someone isn’t doing something, it means there’s a reason or an opportunity. If there’s a reason, then maybe that means something.

    If it’s an opportunity, then go for it. However, find me a general topic that sells a lot of product (list building is a great example…tons of people teach it and all make good money) that is dominated by 1 single person and I’m skeptical it’s really that good of a business in the first place.

    Many product creation teachers talk about “look for competition to see if it’s a niche you should tackle”…I might be out of line here but I think this article runs contradictory to that theory…although I could’ve misinterpreted this.

    No worries 🙂


    PS- I love this blog b/c you guys actually post thought provoking things that actually make me want to comment 🙂


Leave a Comment