This is a guest post by Scott Peto, Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator for 15 years at Monticello Marketplace in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Man practicing Karate on the beachHow to create forward momentum within a haystack of urgent.
The chaos will always be with us.  You can count on it.  Yet leaders have to be able to generate forward momentum from within that chaos.  What does it take to create that forward momentum, even when chaos dominates our landscape?  Two things.

    • clarity – to distinguish what is urgent from what is important
    • discipline – to act first and predominantly on that important

Clarity is the ability to see how we SHOULD be spending our time and energy.  Discipline is the fortitude to actually do those things.  Clarity and discipline pave the pathway out of survival mode and into achiever mode.  As long as we ALLOW the urgent to dominate us, we will always be frustrated, bound, wallowing in mediocrity.  We must stop giving the urgent permission to own our mind space.

Keys to building tomorrow (rather than managing today)

1. Think long-term.  Focus on how long-term the impact of an action will be.  Clearing out my inbox will have a much shorter impact than writing an article that people will be able to read for years to come. Giving deep training to a new leader has a more lasting return than handling the fire-of-the-day.   Ask yourself: “Will this make a difference a month, a year, five years from now?”

2. Set Three Most Important Tasks for each day. Ask yourself: “If I could only do three things today, which three would provide the most lasting impact?”

3. First Things First.   Start working those three top priority actions first thing in the morning.  When we spend time working on non-important but urgent items we get caught up in trying to put out the next fire.  And trying to work on the important tasks later in the day often competes with more distractions and more interruptions.  Finishing the most important tasks in the beginning of the day ensures that we finish the day having accomplished what we set out to accomplish.

Find your clarity

Execute with discipline

Choose to work above your chaos.