Rita Hyland - Blog

Archive for April, 2011

How To Confront Your Secret Addiction To Low-Value Work And Pounce On Your Priorities (once and for all)

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Are you addicted to low-value work?

Last week I was speaking with a seasoned Fortune 500 manager who told me he continues to struggle to find the time to work on his priorities, that is, his high-value work – both personal and professional.

Whether he wants to create the global strategy for a new product or create more quality moments with his two daughters, he claims he doesn’t have the time. Can you relate?

I could see right away that my client’s challenge was further exacerbated because for years he had mis-diagnosed it; he believed he was suffering from a “time management problem.”

I disagreed. No. His was a more subtle and less sexy problem than that.

If it was just a time-management problem, he as a smart man in a multi-million dollar company with enough time management training programs and resources to run from dusk to dawn every day for a year, would have successfully tackled this problem by now.

He agreed and added, “I have been to several high-level management courses, workshops, and a week of Steven Covey training. You’re right. Time management is not my problem.”

But then what was it?

After a little exploring, my client uncovered that he was addicted to low-leverage, low-fulfillment tasks. Eben Pagan refers to this work as ZERO or NEGATIVE value work.

My client does not suffer alone from this problem. I’ve seen many smart, driven, and results-oriented individuals, spend too much of their time on low-leverage, low-fulfillment tasks.

But what’s far more important to understand is why we do it.

The answer is simple. We spend time on the unimportant (pretending its urgent) to avoid the important high-value work because we are scared.

Let’s face it: High-value work is scary.

We’re scared to make the sales calls, connect with the contact, write the piece, build the strategy, send off the proposal, or uncover the answers to our true heart’s desires.

After all, we may fail, we may get rejected. Frankly, it’s much easier and certainly safer to dabble in low-value work.

The lack of time has been used as a scapegoat for too long.

When we confront the real reason we avoid our dreams and high-value work, we can make the conscious decisions that allow us to pounce on priorities and release our Genius! Coming from our Genius we acheive, contribute and experience fulfillment at our highest levels!

Here are six actions steps to identify what and why you are avoiding your high-value work and to unleash your own Genius.

Step 1 Admit it. You are avoiding and postponing your high-value work and dreams for a future date. Write down the priority you are avoiding.

Step 2 Ask yourself, “What am I concerned or afraid might happen if I complete or achieve what I’m avoiding?”

Step 3 Get real. Answer: “What is the likelihood of those fears becoming real?” (Studies show 98% of our fears never come to fruition.) And if they do, what action will I take next?

Step 4 Identify the steps you can take to avoid or mitigate those obstacles. For example, do more preparation, consult an expert, get the help you need.

Step 5 Don’t leap in. Lean in. Tip toward doing it by identifying that first step and then let gravity take over. It just takes one lean to get the momentum going. In the case of my client, he agreed to schedule appointments to consult with two experts to work through his strategy.

Step 6 Schedule it. Until a goal has a date with it, it is just an idea. It’s not real. Put a realistic date on the calendar. Even better break up the one goal into many and schedule each. Become great friends with your calendar. She’ll hold you to it!

Bottom line: The first step to any problem is acknowledging you have one. Come clean by sharing your story of how your addiction to the minutiae and low-value work keeps you stuck and what you do to break free.

I always love hearing from you!

With loads of love,
Rita