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The Leader’s Four Daily Whats (First of a Four-Part Series)

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Today is the most important day you have. You will never have this day available again; make it work for you.

Today we make choices. We answer the four “Whats”:

  1. What is IMPORTANT today?

  2. What is my ATTITUDE today?

  3. What ACTIONS will I take today?

  4. What RELATIONSHIPS will I build today?

#1 What Is Important Today?

During the week, we each have many things to do. We have jobs, kids to run to activities, our own list of errands, things to get fixed and done, bills to pay, and, of course, exercise to take care of our health. Additionally, we allot quality time to our significant other, family, friends, and ourselves—the parts that help us treasure the life we have. Life can get really crazy with all the things that we do.

I am a task-oriented person. I make a list of things to do every day. My struggle has been that I create a list that contains more things to be done in a day than is possible to complete.

So how do I determine what is important? It’s more than analyzing a list and prioritizing it. What absolutely MUST get done today? I use the Captain’s Log to help me—you can access this free resource from our resources page.

The MUSTs in a day are what we call a “Big Rock.” We have to handle the Big Rocks. If it is something that I want to get done, but it is of a lesser significance, this is what we call a “Small Rock.” It is important, but it is not going to hurt me if I don’t get it done today. And if it would be nice to get done, it is a “Gravel” item. More about the “Gravel” list items later.

When I get done with my list, I review the Big Rock items, those that must be done today. I double-check the list and ask, “If I don’t get it done, what will happen?” If there are no consequences, then it is rerated as a Small Rock. It is critical to know the difference between working on items that “must” get done, those that “should” get done, and those it would be nice, or even great, if they were completed. It is extremely important that these are not confused!

Next, I acknowledge that people, especially family, are significantly more important to me than anything on my list. For some of you, the so-called “extroverts,” this is a no-brainer; however, for some of us, this is a “work in progress.” Because I want people to know how important they are to me, I will ask myself, “Is there anything that I will do that is more important than anyone with whom I know I will come into contact?” On the Captain’s Log, this would come under the Intentional List. For instance, your family is way more important than nearly anything you have to do—do not neglect them! (I will admit, this one is really hard for us “task” people.)

Then I ask, “Is there anything that I will do that is more important than anyone with whom I may come into contact?”

Here is a key to priorities that I learned from John Maxwell: It is important to fill your calendar with things of importance, not just with things to be busy.

Oh, and those Gravel list items—my daily list rarely has a Gravel item. It would only be included as a bonus fun thing that can be done while accomplishing my A list.

Focus on What’s IMPORTANT today!

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