You’re great at getting down what the boss or client asks. You ask good questions. You are incredibly intelligent and diligent. You are also slow. It’s hard to hear, mostly because you know you run around all day from meeting to meeting and task to task. You have timelines for everything and hit 90% of them. All things top performers do. But there is another thing top performers do.

They know when they have to drop everything, miss some deadlines and let bad things happen in order to tackle the one thing that will change everything. They know that if they have 60-days to increase leads by 25% they should do all the easy stuff now, today, so that they can show immediate results will buying time to tackle long-term solution. They leave meetings and get a few things cross off immediately.

And you know it when you see it. They are antsy in meetings if they run long or aren’t on point. They walk through the office like a person who has somewhere to go. Their task list is shorter than anyone else’s because they have a.) crossed the most off the list already and b.) have crossed off all the stuff that doesn’t move the needle.

Think you are super fast at getting important stuff done? Think of a recent important project or client you have worked on. Now ask yourself these questions:

  • After getting the project or client, how long did it take for you to cross off the first action item?
  • What would have been easy to do that wasn’t? Why wasn’t it done?
  • What would have been hard to do but made a big impact? Why haven’t you put a plan together to make it happen?
  • What was futile but you still did it? Why didn’t you dig in your heels so you could focus on bullet points 1, 2 and 3?

If 2 or more of these you could answer with specific examples, you are too slow. And if the first one is answered by anything long than the same day, you are too slow.

Next time you get a new client, a new project, need to ramp up performance, are asked by your boss to tackle something, go through this 6-step exercise.

  1. Take out a stack of post-it-notes and write everything you could do to hit the client’s goals, complete the project, wow your boss, etc.
  2. Now stick them to the wall with all the stuff that will be easy to do on the left and all the tasks that will be hard on the right.
  3. Pull off anything on the left that will make little to no difference in terms of the quality of the project or results for the client.
  4. Pull three remaining tasks off the easy side of the wall and start them right now.
  5. Set a deadline for everything else of 2-weeks from the date of the exercise.
  6. Put your blinders on and get to work.

Doing this may mean you have to push some deadlines. It may end your perfect street of getting everything done. But no one will accuse you of being slow. And you’ll likely figure out, by tackling three things right away, that the hardest part is getting started and once you have things in motion you won’t want to stop until it is all knocked out.

This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing. f you are interested in reading all posts in this series you can start with post 1 about what I am focusing on as president of a PPC agency. The next post in the series is Transcending Everyday Engagements.