Eat That Frog! Part 5 of 9: Future Orientation
October 21, 2009 by Dr. Lam
Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University found that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people fell on one simple predictor: ”long-term perspective”. More than race, gender, family background, intelligence, etc., how an individual viewed a given day or a given task defined how successful that person would be in society. Those who were focused on where they would be in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years would be the ones who would be successful. Those who were just focused on present day activities would not. Denis Waitley, the motivational speaker, says, “Losers try to escape their fears and drudgery with activities that are tension-relieving. Winners are motivated by their desires toward activities that are goal-achieving.”
We must focus on what priority tasks we can accomplish that will permit future success for us. The simple question that we can ask is “What consequence will the task that I am working on hold for me in the future?” If the answer is none, then perhaps we must reconsider how important it is for us to be working on it. Tracy talks about the “Law of Forced Efficiency”, which says that there is only a limited time that we have to accomplish anything. We can’t eat every tadpole so we must focus on what we can accomplish that has priority value based on “future orientation” (what impact that action would have for us in the future) and “priority focus” (what value that action would have so that we can prioritize it appropriately).
He says that those who say that they work well with deadlines are not actually telling themselves the truth. Studies have shown that people who work under pressure to deliver with a deadline are only procrastinators. It is always much better to plan forward than to be a victim of external constraints like deadlines.
Tracy says that we should ask three important questions for maximum productivity:
1. What are my highest value activities?
2. What can I and only I do that if done well will make a real difference?
3. What is the most valuable use of time right now?
By focusing on “future orientation”,we can help prioritize our biggest frogs and accomplish only what we need to accomplish and delegate or ignore the rest.