This week, several members on my team approached me with the question, “How can I be better at my job?”
It’s an important question. One we all have asked at one point in our lives. And the answer is one that can have a profound impact on your entire life.
The answer, perhaps overly simple, has only 3 parts.
The To-Do List
Opening up the notebooks of my team members, the first thing that practically fell out was a seemingly endless list of “To-Do’s”. Each of them, independently, had written down all the balls they were juggling right now.
And there were a LOT of items on those lists. No doubt, you can relate. How many things are on your lists?
How many times have you thought, “There simply isn’t enough time in the day to get all this done?”
Trying to help take inventory of what their tasks were, we started putting those To-Do’s into buckets. Grouping tasks by the nature of the work gives a better understanding of what my team was spending their time on.
Ultimately, we were able to separate these task lists into a few separate groupings, or buckets.
Batching tasks helps give some clarity over where you are actually spending your time. Take out your to-do list, and group those tasks into buckets of similar items.
Make it Rain
Putting those To-Do list buckets to the side for a moment, we then looked at what jobs they were each trying to do. Boiling down the job into the most basic metric: what makes it rain?
Think about your work. What is it that you do in your work that makes it rain? What work do you do that makes money?
If you are a software developer, it’s producing working software. If you’re an artist, it’s making and selling art. If you are an event planner, it’s running smooth events.
In every role, there are a handful of actions that really make it rain. Understanding what those few critical levers are will help you become more valuable.
Now think back to that endless list of To-Do’s that you have. Which of the buckets are the same on both lists? The To-Do list tasks that fall into one of your make it rain bucket, those are your money-makers. Do more of those, and do them well, and you’ll become way more valuable.
What The F*?
What the focus.
Asked separately, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet gave the same answer. The keys to success lie in your ability to focus on the important things.
As my team members looked into their To-Do list, they were really revealing their focus. Anything on that endless list was something that was weighing on their mind, and sapping their time and energy.
By putting more focus on the activities in the make it rain buckets, my team members will ultimately be more valuable to the company. Put another way, by focusing on the real value-add activities, my team members will be better at their jobs.
You want to be better. Better in your career. Better financially. Better in all aspects of your life. I know you do, because that’s why you show up here each week.
Understanding what it is that you do to make it rain, and then allocating more of your time to focus on those key activities makes you better. And that difference in performance between you and everyone else? That will, in time, be rewarded.
Think about these elements this week: What can only you do to make it rain? Are you spending enough time on those activities? Can you increase your focus, time and energy on those money-makers to become even more valuable?