When I worked as a crisis manager, my job was to be successful where others had just failed. I usually found that my predecessor – the person who had just failed and been fired – was better at the job than me in just about every aspect. Every aspect, that is, except the one that really mattered. What I had was an ability to set priorities, and the necessary level of ruthlessness and deviousness to stick with them in the face of constant calls to get involved in other things.
I formulated the principle that,
“if you have three hours a day and three priorities, you will make good progress. If you have ten hours a day and ten priorities, you will spin your wheels. So you can only afford three.”
This principle was purely empirical, derived from my own experience and observations. Recently, I discovered the science behind it. Like most really powerful insights, it’s obvious once you’ve seen it. The video explains.