When you're leading a consulting practice, there's always a new fire or urgency for you to deal with.
One of the most common complaints I hear from founders and partners is that they have an infinite to-do list to complete every single day, yet weeks and months go by and they feel like they didn't get anything done.
This happens because all of our attention goes to the smaller and more urgent things. The important and long-term ones get forgotten or ignored.
The larger the business, the worst it gets. For partners of boutique consulting firms with a growing staff, this is an everyday struggle - the more people, the more demands on their time. But solo consultants and advisors also suffer from it.
There's only one way to solve this: you need to religiously block time for the important. You don't need to do that much, as long as you work on the right things.
This idea is not new. Peter Drucker wrote about it. So did David Allen. Greg McKeown, in his book "Essentialism", called it the Top Goal framework: You schedule two hours each day to work only on your top goal - and you do this every single workday.
The earlier in the day you schedule that time block, the better. During the day there will be other issues and people demanding your attention. There's also strong, research-backed evidence showing we have more cognitive energy in the morning when our brain is well-rested and fresh.
During this Top Goal time, you are not doing anything else but working on your priority for two hours. You do not open or reply to emails, messages, or calls. You do not browse the internet or social media.
Putting this idea into practice is easier said than done. As with any other change initiative, you want to reduce overwhelm and create momentum. This means starting small and scaling up.
Start by scheduling 30 minutes tomorrow early in the day. If that goes well, plan 30 minutes each weekday morning for a week. If that goes well, increase the time block to 60 minutes. Continue growing gradually until you find the right balance - my recommended target for clients is two hours a day.
Finally, don't forget accountability. Share your goal and intentions with other trusted partners who will push you through. If you need any help, feel free to drop me a line.