Keep Your Priorities Close at Hand

The best cure for distraction is relentless focus on your top priorities.

Stever Robbins
1-minute read

Have you gotten more easily distracted in recent years? I sure have. Between smartphones, social media, text messaging, Facebook, and a gazillion other things competing for my attention, it's easy to get sidetracked. Every five minutes. Constantly.

Then as if that weren't enough, other people often deal with problems these days by emailing me. Then they feel completely vindicated in doing no more work on the problem until I respond. In other words, they've quietly transferred the responsibility to me. Being a responsible guy, I take it and run with it. My life sucks.

What I've done is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still works. At the start of the day, make a short list of your top-3 priorities for the day. These might be broad areas of responsibility like projects, or specific tasks that you need to get done. Write the list on an index card or piece of paper. Pick up the card. Look at it. Hold it in your hand. Now don't let it go until you've finished everything on the card. You can get distracted, but while you're distracted, keep that card clearly visible in front of you. Tape it to your computer if necessary.

You'll find that a continual reminder of your priorities without the clutter of seeing the rest of your to-do list makes it much easier to get back on track after a distraction and keep tightly focused on moving yourself and your most important agendas forward.

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He 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.