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December 8, 2020 4 mins

Get clear on what must be done today

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Good morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the New Corner Office,
the podcast where we share strategies for thriving in the
new world of work, where location and hours are more
flexible than in the past. Today's tip is to establish
a daily must win and then win at it. This

exercise and prioritization can help us feel like we're making
progress no matter what life tosses our way. This tip
comes from Ashley Willins, a professor at Harvard Business School
an author of the recently released book Time Smart, How
to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life, which
I've mentioned on this podcast before. In a recent webinar

hosted by Penn's Behavior Change for Good initiative, Willin's listed
focusing on a daily must win as one of her
time used strategies to help people cope while working remotely.
I think focusing on a daily must win is a
great way to give yourself purpose and direction. Long time
listeners have heard me advise to manage by task, not time,

and to create short to do lists of important things
that you actually intend to do. Focusing on a daily
must win keeps with this same spirit. You identify an
immediate priority for the day. What is the one thing
you absolutely have to win at for the day to
be a success. That is what you must do, and

as a corollary, when you do that thing, the day
will have been a success. It turns out that when
we know what our top priority is and our laser
focused on it, we tend to get it done no
matter what else comes along. To start winning at your
must win, get in the habit of actively designating the

days must do. Look at your list if nothing else happened,
what one thing would make the day feel like it
wasn't a disaster? Or try this thought exercise. If you
knew you would lose power in an hour or your
laptop would be taken away from you, what on your
list would you choose to do first. Now, this priority

may not seem grand and important. It might seem absurdly small,
like signing a contract or actually submitting something that is
mostly put together, but no matter, put a little star
next to it or bolded or otherwise make it stand out,
and then do whatever it takes to make sure that
this priority happens, even if you aren't going to lose

power or have your laptop or phone taken away from you.
It's a good idea to tackle your must win item
first thing in the morning. That way, if unexpected things
happened later, you've already won at your daily must win.
Or if you have an anticipated difficulties with handling your
must do, you have time to address the issue before

the day is over. Now, designating a must win doesn't
mean that we have only one thing on our plates,
and I'm not suggesting that you quit for the day
and go out for drinks as soon as they must
win item has been one. But how often have we
not completed something that really does need to get done
because we had another fire to put out, or we

encountered an obstacle like needing someone else's approval, or maybe
we've dropped the ball because we've just lost track of
time and forgot. Designating a must win and then committing
to winning it means that fewer balls get dropped. You
don't forget to submit that huge proposal before the five
pm deadline because someone catches a big error on another project.

So today, start thinking about your daily must win and
what kind of schedule maneuverings would be required to make
sure that you win it. You'll probably find yourself getting
more done and feeling a lot less stressed about it.
In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening, and

here's the succeeding in the New Corner Office. The New
Corner Office is a production of I Heart Radio. For
more podcasts, visit the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you get your favorite shows.
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