When you study people who succeed you begin to see patterns. By observing these patterns, and considering if they will work for you, you can become more effective.
That is a good thing. It’s called modeling success, and it works.
In the hundreds of books I have read I have noticed one very important pattern.
Every successful person I have studied clearly understands what their most important tasks are, and they make sure to get them done during their day.
Many people call these tasks their “MITs”.
What is a “Most Important Task”? It is that task that needs to be done in order for you to move forward in your life. While it might not be urgent, it is always important.
For example, writing this article is one of my MITs for today. It’s not urgent. No one is going to fire me if it’s not done.
But it is important. Because if one person is helped by what I am writing today I will have won. I will have done my job. My day will have been worth the effort.
While the daily schedule of a Seth Godin may be completely different from that of a Donald Trump, they both have this in common … they know what their MITs are and they get them done.
An Example Of MITs At Work
One of my favorite people is John Maxwell. The man is a model of balanced success and productivity.
Just consider these facts …
- Over 20 million books sold
- Over 70 books written
- A huge presence in the corporate world.
- Massive influence personally.
- Massive influence in the world through his John Maxwell Training program
Much like Zig Ziglar, I find a lot to emulate in John Maxwell, and so I read his books, listen to his podcasts and more.
All of which has helped me be a better businessman, a better leader and a better person.
So I wondered, what are John Maxwell’s Most Important Tasks?
And then I found an interview where he revealed them. So here they are for your consideration.
John Maxwell’s Four Most Important Tasks
During the interview John did not refer to these as his Most Important Tasks. What he did say, and I paraphrase, is that he is so productive because he makes sure to do these things every day. Sounds like an MIT to me!
Everyday I write
How do you write over 70 books? You write every day. Writing every day works for people like Seth Godin, Dan Kennedy and John Maxwell. It can work for you too.
Here’s an interesting tidbit. According to the interview John writes on a legal pad. He carries a briefcase full of folders, his trusty legal pad, and a multi-color Bic pen.
I believe this to be true; while today’s technology is fun and fast and can be helpful, using technology well is not a requirement for success.
So do what you can do, be that a legal pad and pen, a word processor or a voice recorder to be transcribed later.
It’s the doing that matters most.
Everyday I read
I heard years ago that great writers are readers. My observation is that it is true. But not only writers need to read.
Reading is not only fun but fundamental to your success.
Why? Because when you read you gain the knowledge of others. You learn from their mistakes, their successes and more.
Reading really is the best shortcut to success in my view. That’s why I read every day too.
Everyday I think
How much quiet time do you get every day? Minutes, hours, none?
While I’m not a big fan of being isolated, I am a big fan of quiet time. Choosing a set amount of time to do nothing but think really can change your life.
I prefer my quiet time in the morning. As a man of faith I pray, read the Bible and consider how to best live my life today. But part of the value of quiet time is just the quiet itself.
Finding time every day to let what I call the “snow globe in my brain” settle down can set a peaceful and hopeful tone for the entire day.
Everyday I file
Every person needs their own organizational system. For some it’s a Getting Things Done approach. For others it’s file folders in a desk drawer. For others it’s scanning everything into Evernote and letting Evernote be their digital file drawer.
In my observation the method matters less than the practice of that method. So find a method that works for you and, like John Maxwell, “file every day”.
Everyday I ask questions
This one is huge. Asking questions is so important. Just last week a member wrote in to ask how to do something technical that, for me, is like falling off a log. For her it was like climbing Mount Everest.
She spent four hours trying to get it done. I solved it in 30 seconds. Literally.
I tell you that story only to say this – if you don’t know something … ask.
Some people say to me “let me ask you a dumb question.” My reply is that there are no dumb questions. So ask.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. So ask.
Maxwell asks an interesting question of people he meets. He asks “Who do you know that I should know?” What an interesting thought!
How about you?
Do you know what your Most Important Tasks are? Are you getting them done every day?
I hope you have found your set of MITs, because knowing them and doing them consistently will help you get more done in less time.
And that is a beautiful thing indeed!