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Busy Much?

3 min readFebruary 15, 2021
Being busy can create its own “busy-ness.”
And distract you from the important things you need to accomplish.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
Unnecessary busy work is where precious hours of every day evaporate.
David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, has long been the gold standard in the field of personal productivity.
(You can hear my conversation with David on Episode 483 of Sales Enablement with Andy Paul.)
He wrote, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
I’ve used elements of Allen’s system in my personal selling process since I first read the book.
In particular, I use his system for accurately assessing the scope of any task, whether it is complex or seemingly mundane, by breaking it down into its irreducible components. This is a hugely valuable tool to assess the time and resources required to capture a particular opportunity.
I described how this applies to sales planning in my book Amp Up Your Sales. I show how even a simple sales action, like “Following up a lead,” is not one task to put on a to-do list. Instead, it’s actually 24 individual smaller tasks that each need to be accomplished in sequence to effectively and responsively follow up a lead.
Astute sales readers will find that many other of Allen’s concepts, like that of the “very next physical action,” are also directly applicable to their selling process.
One of my favorite lines from Getting Things Done is this gem: “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
Getting Things Done is one of my two favorite personal productivity books.
(Kevin and I dove into the details of his book on Episode 82 of Sales Enablement with Andy Paul.)
This book has lots of relevant takeaways for salespeople because the subjects of Kevin’s research were not knowledge workers stuck in a cubicle. They were people who could see the rewards directly from being more productive.  Just like every seller out there.
One of Kevin’s main findings in his research was that wildly successful people shared a common organizational habit: they do NOT use to-do lists.  Instead, they live out of their calendars. Anything that is important for them to accomplish resides there.
The system he lays out in his book is based on that premise. I use elements of his system. I dispensed with my to-to lists a couple years ago and I try to keep everything I need to do in my calendar.
Kevin’s book is an entertaining and fast read that is loaded with practical takeaways.
Check it out.

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