What Matters Most?


What’s the most important routine of your day? For me, I think it’s prioritizing. In times of rapid changes, multiple demands from various stakeholders, priorities keep on changing. I’ve found myself rechecking the validity of my priorities every 2 hours or so.

My days begin at the end of the previous day. That’s when I work on priorities for the following day. But things may happen during the night, so in the morning I always re-check my priorities and schedule. On quiet and calm days, I can keep on working as planned. But this kind of days is a luxury. More often, some crises would happen. Interruptions from higher ranks and complaints from customers happen now and then. Many can be delegated, but some of these are red flags of fundamental issues that must be addressed.

In the meantime, there are perpetual needs to (1) develop my team members’ capabilities as they work, solve problems, and make their contribution, (2) keep track of all the crucial indicators of successes and troubles operationally, and (3) ensure all the works being done are strategically aligned and sharply focused.

The complexity of today’s professional world simply can’t be dealt with by getting oneself absorbed in the intricacies of operations alone, being a workhorse. It takes an awareness. It takes distance. It takes deliberate re-alignment and re-focusing in a perpetual manner to ensure that we keep our eyes and efforts on the true north star.

It’s inefficient toiling from morning to the evening, weekdays and weekends, when one isn’t pushing the right button. But when one works on what matters most, on the most crucial factors first, then many of the rest will fall properly to their places and as we progress, the next items on our to-do list will be increasingly easier. That’s why on many days, I find myself rechecking and re-prioritizing the items on my agenda every 2 hours or so. And that includes beginning and ending the day with a calibrated set of priorities.

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