We are often asked how to identify high value activities (HVA’s) within a business or career, and how to devote optimal time and effort to them. This high performance action covers both questions.
A HVA is one that produces (disproportionately) positive outcomes for the time and effort put in. That clearly is the space we need to play in for long enough and regularly enough, to create drive success.
- Think back over your past one to two years and identify the bigger steps forward that have occurred in your business or career. They should come to mind quite easily but how they have come about may take a bit more thought. The instances may or may not be numerous; don’t sweat that. This is about altering behaviours so that more of them occur in future. Write them all down, including the cause of each. It’s likely to be from when someone changed something or instituted a new idea. Think through what led to the change, and how the idea came about and was implemented. It’s the last parts that are gold … these should be repeated regularly in future.
- Follow exactly the same process in point 1 for another business or career you are familiar with, for the lessons that will show up from them, for you to implement yourself moving forward.
- From points 1 and 2, you should have a clearer idea of how significant improvements have come about. Now ask yourself why there haven’t been more of them in your own business or career and be totally honest with yourself with the answers. Whatever your answers are, they are the potential robbers of greater future success if you let them. Commit to ways that program the robbers out of your business and out of your behaviours. This might be through calendar entries, people around you holding you to account, greater self discipline or something else that would work for you.
- Keep adding to the your list from points 1 and 2, so that it becomes more and more obvious to you what you need to do and where you need to spend your time, to stay involved in HVA’s.
- Commit to, and undertake, a minimum set number of HVA’s per day or week, no matter what.
- Write a list of activities that you should rarely or never be involved in and stick to it.
- Make sure you are systematic and creative, not busy. There is a world of difference.
- Don’t even try to get everything ‘done’. Rarely is that necessary and sometimes not
even possible. HVA’s is about getting the right things done not everything done.
- If you have responsibility for revenue generation in the business then you clearly need to ensure a high proportion of your time is actually spent in doing just that … in activities that will generate revenue today or in future. Not spending too much time on paperwork, administration type work, answering queries, etc.
- Control your calendar don’t let it control you.
- Build think time into your calendar. That’s not a silly entry; it’s a very important one. A calendar that only contains meetings is just a series of pop up reminders, not a driver of HVA’s. Thinking is a HVA in itself.
- Undertake activities that will increase the size and likely effectiveness of your network. It’s a trap to become insular to your business, even your industry. That will limit your ability to even know what HVA’s are.
- Spend time, monthly, reflecting on your success with HVA’s, for the lessons you can take into next month.
- Some key questions to identify whether an activity is a HVA:
- Will doing this contribute to the achievement of overall goals?
- Will this activity matter in a year’s time?
- Will this activity change anything?
- Will doing this cause someone to learn something significant?
15. You have to say No sometimes to be able to undertake HVA’s.
16. Never allow yourself an excuse for why you are not spending enough time in HVA’s.
You are in control of what you do and if you don’t think that, then make it true.
17. Review yourself monthly on everything you commit to above, by going through it all with someone else (e.g. a coach, a mentor, a colleague).
18. Circulate this article to people you work with … to help them engage HVA’s more often and to improve their ability to encourage/let others do so as well.
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