Become Productive by Linking Your Tasks to Your Biggest Goals

Align your actions around your larger goals to make life better.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #17

That's a nice goal. And your solution was to have Jules clean it. You asked, harangued, bribed, blackmailed, and begged, and none of that worked. You attached to the how--asked Jules--and lost the original goal–-a clean room.

Let's review. You want a clean room. Jules isn't doing it. Even when you've made life a living hell. So abandon that plan and try something else. You could clean it. No one is stopping you. Or you and Jules could agree how to work overtime and together hire a housekeeper. But if you stay attached to the how of asking Jules, you get caught up in blame. You yell, scream and demonstrate that adults throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way. That'll teach Jules to be a grown up. Return to your goal--a clean room--and find another way. Even picking up yourself. It will take half the time and a tenth the mental energy.

Getting mad at Jules is "solving the solution." That's when your chosen solution is more work than the original problem. If you're bogged down in something, stop! Step back. Ask, "Why is this important? What's the larger goal?" Then ask how you could reach it and do that.

Meeting Goals

Consider meetings. I just love meetings. ... No, I don't. I hate meetings. Let's find another way. Consider the weekly status meeting. Why is that important? We share information; we sync up on outstanding issues. Why is it important to sync up? Er, that way team members help each other when they get stuck? OK. Does the weekly status meeting really reach that goal? Or is there a better way? Maybe team members could just ask each other for help when they get stuck.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.