“The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.”
— William James (1842-1910) Doctor, Psychologist, Philosopher
A client of mine uses a powerful tool to help his executive team decide what not to do with their time. He has each member keep a pie chart of where his/her energy is focused. When new projects come along, they discuss how sections and percentages should shift. “You’ve got to know where your energy should and shouldn’t go each day,” he explains. “Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it’s not. We’ve found explicitly talking about it every few months helps. Team members tend to feel more empowered in what they’re doing and are more successful as a result.”
In any endeavor, you get bombarded with more information than you can handle. If you try to focus on too much you’ll scatter your energy – and lose your effectiveness. To succeed, sort out major issues from minor ones. Selectively disengage from some activities so that you can powerfully engage in others.
1. Create a pie chart of how you currently spend your time & energy.
2. Take note of areas where you might be spending too much energy on minor issues.
3. Create a second pie chart to reflect changes you might make to improve efficiency/effectiveness/enjoyment.
4. Like the example above, try sharing the chart with others to get useful feedback on where you should or shouldn’t focus your energy.
Question: How do you decide what to overlook?