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the gift of letting things go

Well, this is awkward. I’m wondering, is it inappropriate to make a post after abandoning a blog for over a year? Would I be a complete hypocrite if I hid behind “I was too busy’ as an excuse for not delivering on the promise of a new and timely notions? Yes, and yes.

In fact, I believe my extended writing-hiatus is living proof that we don’t often do what we say we are going to do — even with the absolute best intentions. This doesn’t make us liars, but it shows how vulnerable we are to time and how easy it is to over-promise and under-deliver when you’ve committed to doing too many things. Not everything can be a priority. 10 things cannot be a priority. 5 things cannot be a priority. Chances are, if you have more than 3 priorities, one of them is not a priority.

Think of it in these terms: if you had to tell a 5-year-old what you feel are the 3 most important things that you should do on any given day (to make your company better), what would your answer be? Alternatively, if you told the same 5-year-old the 3 most time-consuming things you actually do on any given day, would your answer be the same? Clearly, there is a disconnect.

In my fall column in ReFined magazine, I go into detail about the importance of accepting the concept of elimination; we can’t do everything, nor should we. Learning to live with the discomfort of letting things go, for the sake of focusing on priorities, is the primary law of strategy. Determining what the priorities actually are, is secondary. Does this mean that it’s ok to overlook the small commitments you’ve made to your clients (i.e. writing a blog post, sending a monthly newsletter)? Absolutely not. On the contrary, if you find yourself unable to fulfill a priority-linked commitment due to time constraints, you have 2 choices:

  1. find something to eliminate, in-house, to accommodate the commitment, or

  2. hire more help (internally or externally).

It’s that simple.

There are no other options. Not everything can be a priority. Time is finite. Money is restricting. Choosing one thing means not choosing another.

When it comes to prioritization, less is abundantly more.

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