Imagine with me for a moment. Two business owners. We’ll call them Kevin and Michael. They are both entrepreneurial. They’re each intelligent and articulate. They’ve both got natural abilities to connect with people. Each of them is in their mid-twenties and has been married for about two years. So many similarities. Yet Kevin’s company is flourishing and Michael’s is doing just doing okay.
So, what’s the difference?
Michael is sort of a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. Each day—perhaps moment by moment—he acts on whims and impulses. Whatever hits him at the moment, whatever crisis seems the most urgent, whatever idea seems like the most fun, that’s what he pursues. And don’t misunderstand. Michael has a lot of fun at his job, and he even makes a decent living at it. But it’s really hit and miss. Any given day might be sensationally productive or it could be that much of it was wasted time.
Kevin, on the other hand, is much more intentional. Each evening he makes a list of the tasks he wants to accomplish the following day. In the morning, before starting in, he prioritizes the list, making certain that the tasks that need to be tackled first are the ones that get done first.
As Kevin proceeds through his day, there may be interruptions. That’s just a fact of life. We will all deal with those types of disturbances until the day we die. Unfortunately, there is no getting around it. But even Kevin’s interruptions are carefully weighed and evaluated. His frequently-pondered question is, Is my dealing with this issue—especially right now, at this moment—truly more important than the task I am working on? He is very careful not to just automatically give in to the “tyranny of the urgent.” He knows that many interruptions are not really as pressing as they may seem at the moment. This is not to suggest that those things won’t need to be dealt with at some point. Of course they will. But the question is, Does this have to be dealt with right now?
So, we could say that Michael is haphazard and Kevin is intentional. He tries to be very intentional about everything he does. He is intentionally trying to make the absolute best use of his time in ways that will produce the best results.
So let me ask you a question. Would you say your typical style looks more like Michael’s or Kevin’s? Are you planning—with intentionality—which tasks you will accomplish each day? Or are you leaving those things to chance?
Although, Kevin and Michael are fictional characters that I made up, I have encountered both of them in lots of different organizations over the years. They might go by different names—and they might not even be men—but they are there nevertheless. And, honestly, there are very few that are purely one or the other. Yet all of us tend to lean toward one or the other.
I would challenge you as we’ve stepped into a new calendar year, to make the effort to be more intentional about your business. At the end of the year, I know you will see the results.