Concentration of power is the ability to focus upon and accomplish the most vital priorities. A priority is an activity to which we assign value. Vital priorities are high payoff and crucial. In business, vital priorities are essential for the existence, continuation, and well-being of the organization. In our personal life they are the priorities that align with our innermost values.
The first step toward achieving concentration of power is to develop the ability to quickly categorize activities according to how vital and urgent they are. It helps us to distinguish priorities from urgencies.
Urgencies are situations or conditions that require some immediate action on our part. In some cases it might be inaction. Nevertheless, when an ‘urgency’ occurs, we must respond. Urgencies are created in a variety of ways. You’ve experienced most of them: a sudden demand from the boss; a time sensitive opportunity; an accident; a close deadline; a request from a friend; some e-mails and some voice mail; any drop-in visitor; and a sick child. The list goes on and on. In the new paradigm urgencies have increased in frequency and complexity. We must be able to edit urgencies as they pop up throughout the day.
Once we understand the difference between priorities and urgencies we are in better position to ‘choose and refuse’. All activities can quickly be categorized according to how vital and urgent they are.
We can use a familiar symbol, the traffic light, to help us remember the four types of activities and the actions to take when we face them.
We assigned the colors of the traffic light to the four kinds of activities with which we deal – Red, Green, Yellow, and Gray. (Okay, there isn’t really a gray light but use your imagination. It will make perfect sense.)
Return next week for more on how traffic lights relate to activities.
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