What Are Your Vital Few?

Last week I was on a flight en route to Vancouver and heard some great advice from my seat neighbour. He was the head of North America for a global conglomerate, and we had a good chat that covered plenty of angles, from business to music (turns out he’s a big GnR fan too!).

I asked him this question:  “With the amount of responsibility you have in your role, leading literally thousands of people, what allows you to be effective and not drown in the minutiae of everyday corporate life?”

His answer: “I know my vital few.”

It struck a chord with me, as I first heard that phrase from Darren Hardy during a program I attended in Miami back in 2013. Your “vital few” refers to the highest ranking priorities that require most of your attention, in order to achieve the desired result.

So, how do you determine your vital few and make this work for you?

1. Keep it Simple. You can’t have 10 vital priorities – anyone who does simply doesn’t know how to rank and prioritize. Yes, a lot of things are important, but the question to ask yourself is – what is vital right now?  Keep it to three max.

2. Stay Focused. We live in the most distracting time in human history. Those who can control their attention have a massive advantage over the herd who are drawn to distractions like moths to a flame. Start by creating time blocks in your day when no one can reach you. It never ceases to amaze me how much one can do in 60-90min of undisturbed time.

3. Seize the Day. Stop wasting time and lean into life. I drove past a wedding and a funeral yesterday, a stark reminder that we don’t have all the time we think we have. Take control. I once heard someone ask, “would you ever give someone your debit card and let them withdraw whatever they wanted from an ATM?” Obviously none of us would, so I replied “of course not!” to which they replied, “well, why would you let other people waste your time with low priority, meaningless nonsense?” Carpe diem.

Be great this week,

Ian

What are your vital few?  How do you stay focused so that these priorities stay your priorities?  Comment below!

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