Warming up your day by knocking off a bunch of quick, easy tasks is tempting, but it can provide you with a false sense of accomplishment.
The danger in this approach is that the bulk of your energy gets depleted over a bunch of insignificant tasks. First there’s email, then a couple of phone calls, then a meeting, then huddles with some direct reports and a quick sign-off on a project budget — then, guess what? It’s time for lunch!
To warm up after lunch, you start off with another round of email, then a client eats up your mid afternoon, and suddenly it’s 5 pm — and you never got around to, much less finished, the grant proposal — your day’s one-step-from-the-revenue-line priority. In fact, you can’t even remember what you did get done.
Solution: You must retrain yourself to choose the important over the quick, the tough over the easy, no matter how intimidating the project may be. Starting too far from the revenue line prevents you from producing the volume of revenue-generating work that your company actually relies on and pays you for.
Working from the bottom up puts you in a risky position — when that inevitable crisis appears, . . . how can you possibly handle it when you haven’t even gotten to your most important assignment yet!
Completely two or three tasks that directly make or save your company money far outweighs finishing twenty things that are three steps from the revenue line.