Work hard but only on the right things

“As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it is leaning against the right building.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Management Consultant, Peter Drucker once said “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently something that should not have been done at all.” Drucker’s ideas eventually lead to what is now called outsourcing ie a company should focus on only those activities that are essential to its business and that it can do well. Anything else should be contracted out to other companies. The result would be improved business for every company as each firm focused on what it could do best.

Applying the same principle to personal productivity, I say You should not be doing in the first place, the tasks that do not contribute towards your goal. If you work in an organisation, you probably have a job description. It should contain your key roles and responsibilities. These are normally the things that will be focused on during job appraisals. It’s wonderful if an accountant has awesome graphic design skills but it’s important that (s)he produces financial records that are error free. No one will reward the accountant for adding amazing graphics to their books. Supervisors are, however, likely to be displeased if their bookkeeping contains errors all the time.

Have you asked yourself this question lately?

You can’t do everything. There simply isn’t enough time to do it in a day. It therefore pays to be selective about what you want to achieve. Successful people get productive by focusing on a few core tasks that they are good at. They allow others to do the rest.

Put another way, if you are the accountant who would rather work on graphic design, you should start working on an exit plan from your current job. There can’t be much opportunity to use the skills you are dying to use in your current field.

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