There is no substitution for goal setting, then creating plans of action and then taking that action.
This is the time of making plans and creating goals to make this year better than years past.
The famous author on achievement and inspirational speaker Dr. Stephen R. Covey used to demonstrate the idea of getting accomplishments done by putting rocks, stones, and sand into a bucket. I had the privilege of working for Dr. Covey a number of years ago when I was a Franklin Covey Facilitator.
Dr. Covey was fantastic at getting his point across – see if you don’t envision this as you read:
Grab a bucket, four or five very large rocks – that would all fit in the bucket and make the bucket look full when you put the large rocks in.
The bucket symbolizes your week. You start with an empty bucket at the beginning of the week.
Sand that you put into it symbolizes the minutia – email, messages, etc. We usually have a week full of sand – if you don’t agree, ask yourself this:
Have you ever completed a week at work and felt like you really didn't accomplish anything?
The rocks, sand and bucket visual – if you put this idea into place, will keep that from ever happening again.
Small rocks are those small things that are always on to-do lists. Like cleaning a house where several active children live, the small rocks never go away – they seem to multiply at times. Many of us just chase the small rocks around.
When asked how you are, do you ever tell people, “I’m really busy.” Like that is a badge of honor.
Instead, I ask, “Are you accomplishing your best and highest priorities?”
"You have to decide what YOUR highest priorities are - and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say "no" to other things. And the way you do that is to have a bigger "yes" burning inside. The enemy of "the best" is often "the good".
- Dr Stephen Covey
Bigger rocks are sometimes feeling like urgent things in our days – they need to get done, but not sooner than the very biggest rocks.
The big rocks, as I learned over the years, are the very top priorities you have for this week.
I encourage people to have 3 or 4 big rocks in their bucket by the end of the week.
First, identify your top 3 or 4 priorities, write them down or put into a productivity app and work to accomplish those this week.
If you are in sales, perhaps one will be to hit whatever activity goals you have or your boss has for you in a week’s time.
Another might be to reach that elusive CEO you have tried to reach the past couple months. Having a conversation with her will help firm up a sales opportunity you are working on and would be a huge win.
The third big rock might be working with your marketing person to get a Q1 mailing out so that you keep nurturing prospects who are interested but not ready to buy.
At the end of the week, you would have done lots of things INCLUDING these three “big rocks” you identified as wins to accomplish.
Why Do This?
Whether you are in sales, customer service, or leading a company – you have hundreds, if not thousands of things to think about. By accomplishing three or four really big things each week, you move closer toward your goals and you have a sense of accomplishment like you've never had. You can move onto the weekend and unplug, knowing you were accomplished and focused the week prior.
Try it if you haven’t before, and I’m pretty sure you’ll find it helpful.
To see our list of productivity and self-management books click here
We've written about this topic before -
Find an app for your Smartphone that helps support you to accomplish your big rocks. We’ll be sharing top apps for this next.
As Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.