Episode from the podcastsharppodcast

What’s Important – STP035 - Sharp - The Podcast

Released Sunday, 4th March 2018
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Episode 35 –  The first episode in a series of 3 where I share with you my trusted system for managing my activities. In this episode we work out how to define what’s important to you, so you can make the rest of the system work really well. This is an interactive episode – you will need some paper, and a pen if you want to work this out for yourself.

Some of the USEFUL stuff in there is:


  • Time Management doesn’t work – you can’t manage time!

  • Why we can only ever do one thing

  • Stop trying to manage the time, and start managing what you pay attention to

  • You don’t need to feel anxious any more about what you haven’t done

  • You can apply this to work, home, family or life in general

  • No apps in these episodes (almost)

  • Steve in the Field makes a brief appearance – and of course a poor choice!

  • Why you need a filter to decide on what’s important to YOU

  • The four levels which will help you decide importance:

    • Level 1 – What’s the point or purpose

    • Level 2 – What are the different areas

    • Level 3 – What is the stuff – the detail

    • Level 4 – What should I do right now



  • Whatever you’re reviewing, start at Level 1) The point or purpose

    • Job – What is the point or purpose of your job?

    • Why does that role exist?

    • Some answers could be:

      • To grow a business, to make people’s lives better, to pay the bills!



    • Vocation – What is the point or purpose of the vocation?

    • Where is the value of that vocation to society?

    • Some answers could be:

      • To make society better, to remove suffering, to help disadvantaged people



    • Parent – What is the point or purpose of being a parent?

    • How would you define aims which might be bigger than you?

    • Some answers could be:

      • To prepare children to be great adults, to help children learn to make a contribution, to ensure children feel loved and secure






NOW COME UP WITH 2/3 ‘PURPOSES’ THAT APPLY TO YOU!


  • Then it’s time to look at Level 2) What are the different areas?

    • Job – What are the broad areas you focus on in your job?

    • Some answers could be:

      • Marketing, Sales, Developing People, Recruitment, Customer Engagement, Networking



    • Home Maintenance – What are the areas you look after or need to plan for?

    • Some answers could be:

      • Gardening, Decorating, Housework, Plumbing






NOW COME UP WITH 10-20 ‘AREAS’ THAT YOU FOCUS ON OR WORK IN APPLICABLE TO WHAT YOU’RE REVIEWING


  • Now it’s time to look at Level 3) The detail, the stuff, all the tasks you get involved in

    • Job – What are all of the tasks and activities you work on, everything you can do with your hands, arms, legs, brain, mouth – physical things you can do

    • Some answers could be:

      • Meetings, presentations, complaints, producing reports, appraisals, interviews, phone calls, writing reports, raising invoices, creative activities



    • Parent – what is the stuff that fills your day?

    • Some answers could be:

      • School runs, parent/school meetings, making lunch, homework, bedtime stories, dealing with accidents, cleaning.






NOW COME UP WITH THE ENTIRE LIST OF ACTIVITIES AND TASKS YOU GET INVOLVED IN. THERE’S LIKELY TO BE LOADS SO TAKE SOME TIME OVER THIS. RE-VISIT THE LIST A FEW TIMES. THERE’LL BE STUFF YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN!


  • Lisa and Steve had a bit of a chat at this point to see how she got on

  • NOW! Put your Level 3 list (Activities) to one side, you’ll need it for next week

  • Grab your list for Level 1 – think really carefully are you happy about your 2/3 things you’ve got for Level 1 ?

  • Grab your list for Level 2 – the areas of focus.

  • Look at them, consider them against level 1 purpose, ask yourself this question – which ones are most likely to positively support Level 1 stuff? What are 3-6 areas of focus which more than any others support Level 1 ?

  • Put a star by the side of the 3-6 areas of focus you’ve chosen

  • Then rewrite each one an ACTION starting with a verb like ‘grow, build, sell, develop, gain, create’ etc. etc. Bring them to life!

  • Here are some examples:

    • Instead of ‘staff development’, you could write: ‘Develop my staff to a high standard’

    • Instead of ‘marketing vacancy’ you could write: ‘Find a great candidate for the marketing vacancy’

    • Instead of ‘networking’ you could write: ‘Create 5 new relationships through networking which will grow my number of customers’



  • THESE are your priorities for the next 12 months

  • These are the things which you will use to measure whether any individual task, request meeting is important

  • You will use these as a reference for the next episode, but in themselves you’ve just decided for yourself what’s important to you?

  • Doesn’t that feel good?!!!

  • Don’t be Steve in the Field at 3:25 on a Friday!

  • If you’ve struggled with any of this, or need to clarify any parts – feel free to contact me (all the contact links are below)

  • Some of the elements of my process come from the excellent work by:

  • David Allen – Getting Things Done

  • Peter Bregman – 18 Minutes

  • LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT STEP IN STP036


As always, we’re really grateful for your help in supporting this podcast. To do this you can:


Thanks EVER SO MUCH for listening. If we help you to BE BETTER at what you do, then it’s all been worth it!

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