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People who want to get things done must determine their priorities so they can act on their self-discipline to ensure they are completing the things they care about. Most of us want to do many more things than we could accomplish in three lifetimes. In a world that is hell bent on distraction as a business model, the only way to be productive is to narrow your focus to include only what is most important.

Robert Browning wrote “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s heaven for?” For those who are goal-oriented, this quote suggests you pursue something worthwhile, even if it seems impossible.

Too Many Wants and the Need for Priorities

We want to do many more things than we can accomplish in the finite time we have. The paradox of choice suggests that we can be paralyzed by an overwhelming number of options. To do things, you must eliminate choice. For example, you may sit down to work and open your inbox before scrolling or browsing the internet.

To produce results, you need to have one thing that is important enough that it commands your time and attention. That is your most important outcome. If you don’t already have a list of goals, you need to identify what you want most of all. This approach helps you give yourself over to the tasks that can provide you with your most important outcome.

You might pursue three priorities by adding three 90-minute blocks of time to your calendar. Those three time blocks total 4.5 hours each day, leaving you with 3.5 hours for other things you must do. If you prefer, you can focus on producing a single outcome sooner. To do this, you would use your three 90-minute time blocks for the same important priority.

Not all of the work that shows up in your world is as important as your priorities. If you cannot get everything done, make sure that the things you don’t get to are not your priorities. It sounds simple, but it is easy to lose focus when your attention is constantly pulled by emails, texts, and other distractions.

Focus, Attention, and Energy

It is odd to sit in a restaurant and watch people stare at their phones. When we allow something so small to have such a hold on our focus and our attention, we allow it to steal the time we could use for our goals and objectives.

In the age of distraction, success will require you to ignore almost everything. Unless you can remove distractions and interruptions, you will lack focus and splinter your attention. This means it will take more time to do the tasks necessary to produce the results you are chasing. Ninety minutes of focus and attention on your highest priorities will help you reach your desired outcome more quickly.

We have a limited amount of energy and using it to give yourself the dopamine hit that comes from scrolling, browsing, or whatever distraction you prefer will steal the energy to focus your attention on your ambitions. Those able to give themselves over to their work have a superpower that provides them with the ability to use their energy to get things done. They do things sooner and with a higher quality. Focus will help you surpass your peers.

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The Discipline to Get Things

Will. Grit. Intestinal fortitude. Action. Work. Productivity. Discipline. Call it what you want and call on it when you get busy achieving your goals and priorities. When you see people who have something that you want, they have it because they have the discipline to do the work. For some it was an act of will, forcing themselves to do what they needed to do to progress toward their priority. Others had to grit it out, stopping themselves from wasting their time or walking away from their work.

Successful people keep several disciplines. Even though they are motivated by their goals and priorities, they take precautions to ensure they do what is necessary. You can call this discipline, habit, routine, or a system or process. But what is most important is having the discipline to work on your priorities.

If you lack discipline, two things can help you build it. Both are often difficult to do, but once you can do them consistently, you can apply your discipline to other parts of your life. First, get up at 5:00 AM or earlier. Your bed is warm and comfortable, making it difficult to have your feet on the cold floor. Once you can do this first discipline, exercise in the morning before work.

Those who lack discipline have trouble getting started and continuing their work. They produce less and their work isn’t as good as it might be if they put their heart and soul into it.

A Reflection of the Person Who Did the Work

Everything we do reflects on us. This is true when the work is excellent, and equally true when it is not up to par. You will be known for the quality of your work. For good or for ill.

When a person doesn’t do something that was their responsibility, their failure to pay attention and act on their priorities reflects badly on them. All types of bad things happen when a person doesn’t do what they need to do, the way they need to do it, and when they need to do it.

Priorities, Focus, and the Discipline to Get Things Done

Without priorities, you can do work that will not produce the outcome you need. Without focus, you are almost certain to find yourself distracted and doing too little work or work that isn’t up to the standard you need to succeed. Without the discipline, you will get little done.

One of my mentors, Seth Godin, would have you ship. Do good work and put it out in the world. You are here for a limited time, use your time wisely and whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on July 30, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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