Written by Anthony Demangone
I'm on my way to State College, Pennsylvania today to give a talk at theÂ Big 10 Credit Union Conference. After that, I'm off to West Chester for one of my best friend's wedding. Â All-in-all, I had one full dayÂ inÂ the office this week.
I'll take my laptop with me, and I'll do my best while on the road. Â But my productivity will drop off a good deal while I'm away. Â But I can tell you this...
I got a heck of a lot of things done on Monday.
And why is that? Â With the trip looming and the clock ticking, I focused on what hadÂ to get done. Â I cut out the rest. In other words, I prioritized.Â
There are a number of books and articles on prioritizing. Â Such as...
First Things First: Prioritizing Production.Â (Processimpact.com)
How to Prioritize When Everything is Important. (Lifehacker.com)Â
No is the New Yes: 4 Practices to Prioritize Your Life (HBR.org)Â
The Problem with Priorities. (HBR.org)
The articles seem to strike a common theme. Â What is critically important to your members? Â Unless you have spare time, focus on those "mission critical" issues. Â Learn to say no to everything else.
Sometime, it takes a major economic or business disaster to spur many companies to prioritize. Â Non-critical functions were allowed to take up valuable resources and time while times were good. Â When good times turned to bad, those companies suddenly were faced with a choice: prioritize or go away.
With that in mind, let me ask you a few questions.
- What are your credit union's absolute priorities? Â What must you deliver/accomplish?Â
- What percentage of your credit union's time is spent focused on those key issues? Â
- On a personal level, what must you absolutely accomplish? Â What is most important for you as a manager/executive? Â
- Are there things that you do that take you away from your important priorities? Â
Please understand me - I won't even pretend that NAFCU has cornered the market on always being able to prioritize. Â Nearly every organization struggles with this issue. Â The more, however, we can eliminate the unnecessary and focus on the "must haves," the better off we'll be.
I need to start treating every day like my Monday. Â Just imagine...