Does your “to-do” list seem endless? Do you often ask yourself at the end of the day why you did not get to certain items or tasks? We all have limited time to accomplish those things we are charged to do – for some, it’s eight hours and for others it is ten, twelve, or more. Whether they are running a company, a department, or a civic organization, good leaders prioritize their efforts and focus on those tasks that derive the best returns.

It is commonly accepted that if you focus your attention on the top 20 percent of tasks based on importance, you will get an 80 percent return on your time. Think of what this means and how you spend your time on strategic tasks, with customers, and with your employees.

We often default to checking off the easiest tasks and procrastinate on the tougher ones. But as leaders, we should spend most of our efforts addressing the areas we are uniquely qualified to tackle—those that are difficult to delegate. If something can be done 75 percent as well by someone else, let them do it. So what if it is not perfect? The benefits of focusing your attention on bigger, more value-added tasks far outweigh any shortcomings related to the delegation of less critical initiatives. Striving for perfection often gets in the way of productivity and derails the accomplishment of valuable initiatives.

Remind yourself that activity is not accomplishment. Determine the requirements of your position or role. Then, prioritize these requirements based on the importance to their organization or group and your unique qualifications to accomplish the tasks. Delegate everything else. Spend your time judiciously—it is in limited supply! Leaders who follow this fundamental approach are often the most successful.

Stephen W. Christian, CPA

Stephen W. Christian is a director at Kreischer Miller. Contact him at Email or 215.441.4600. 

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