Good time management suggests that you should prioritize your activities based on importance and urgency.

  • Important items are those that things where you add the most value to your business (or employer).
  • Urgent items are those that need to be done to satisfy a requirement but don't necessary create a lot of value.

Items that are important and urgent should be worked on first. Picking your kids up from day care before they close is probably both.

Time also changes urgency. As the deadline approaches, a task can become more urgent. The need to eat is like that, it can be put off but not indefinitely.

Missing from this picture is the idea of how good a job you should do on each item in your to do list.

If you are a perfectionist, you may be tempted to achieve perfection on every task you perform… or you may be entirely the opposite.

The best practice is to choose which tasks you need to perform to greatness.

A doctor needs to be great at medicine. A painter needs to be great at painting.

There are important tasks that don't need greatness.

A doctor may not need to be great at scheduling patients.  A painter may not need to be great at selling paintings. Both of these are important functions, but something less than perfection is tolerable and therefore, you can safely delegate these tasks to someone else.

The real question is "Do you know what needs to be great?"

Do you make a conscious decision each time you do something as to the level of greatness required? Do you fully consider the impact of the wrong choice on your business, your reputation and ultimately your life? Do you know what you are good at?

I am not saying you should be sloppy in how you deal with clients, far from it. But you should really be looking at where you deliver the most value to clients and putting in the extra effort and focus on getting that part right. If you miss that then the rest may not really matter.

It doesn't matter how nice the hairdresser was if they mess up your haircut.

Make a conscious choice (not a random one) on what needs to be great, what needs to be pretty good and what can be done just ok.

Prioritize greatness.