Whether you are a small business owner, large corporate exec, middle manager, or fresh out of school, you go through your day doing many different things. Some of these tasks we enjoy, some we may despise, and some we may just tolerate. However, the key to becoming truly successful is to do more of things we are really good at (our Area of Awesomeness) and less of the things we are not so good at (our Areas of Awfulness). As I am sure you have been made aware of, 80% of our success comes from 20% of our activities….The Pareto Principle (aka The 80/20 Rule). How cool would it be to operate in a way that we are improving our odds of success on a daily basis? Let me explain to you how you do exactly that.
In one of the entrepreneurial courses I teach, we discuss the 4 Areas of activity that we regularly participate in. We define them as:
- Area of Awesomeness
- Area of Accomplished
- Area of Adequate
- Area of Awful
The first step is to identify which activities fall into which bucket. The easiest way to do this is to spend a week or two tracking your days as if you were billing your time on an hourly basis. We use a basic time sheet/spreadsheet that breaks out into 15 or 30 minute intervals. At the top of each hour, just jot in the sheet what you did for the previous hour. Obviously, the more granular you get the better but if you make it too laborious, you probably won’t do it.
The second step is to go back to the timesheet at the end of each day and label each activity. Keep it simple:
- A = Awesomeness
- B = Accomplished
- C = Adequate
- D = Awful
And here are the definitions of each:
Awesomeness – You are really great at this activity, and you know it. You love doing this. The people around you recognize that you are outstanding at this and most importantly, it actually gives you energy while you are doing it and you feel great about yourself after you have achieved the goal of the activity.
Accomplished – You are really good at this activity. Your experience, knowledge, and process are all drivers for you achieving the goal of the activity. You probably don’t mind doing this activity but it doesn’t energize you. If you didn’t have to do this tomorrow, you wouldn’t necessarily miss it.
Adequate – You can do this activity, but you really don’t enjoy it and you do it because it has to be done. The results you achieve are “OK” but nothing spectacular. There are probably others in the organization that are just as good at this or perhaps, even better at it. You derive no personal satisfaction from doing this activity and claim, “Well, somebody has to do it”.
Awful – You are really not good at this. In fact, you may say you “suck at it”. You may crank through the activity but you absolutely hate it. It actually puts you in a bad mood, it saps your energy, and negatively impacts the rest of your day.
If you are a visual person, perhaps you would like to map your findings on a sheet like this:
If you do this exercise for a week or two, you will identify what you should be doing more of; what you should be doing less of; what you should be delegating; and what you should be eliminating from your day. My clients and students find this simple exercise to be extremely enlightening. I hear comments like:
“You’re right! There are some things that I do on a regular basis that make me really cranky and puts me in a bad mood all day long.”
“I never realized how much I enjoy doing this activity. I’m freakin’ great at this. I wish I could spend my whole day doing this.”
“I don’t know why I didn’t delegate this stuff sooner. Since I let go of this, I am so much more productive and a pleasure to be around.”
“My assistant was so happy that I gave him the opportunity to take some more things off my plate. I’m shocked but he actually likes the stuff I dreaded doing.”
So, start to move your world into your “Areas of Awesomeness”. It’s not going to happen overnight. You may have to come to grips with certain things, let go of certain things, delegate and eliminate, before you can dominate. I promise you that going through life while primarily living in your “Area of Awesomeness” you will be happier, exponentially more effective, and infinitely more successful, no matter what your definition of success may be. If you would like to get my timesheet and graphically mapping tool, send me a note and I would be happy to send it to you. If you would like a free consultation on this personal development activity or other topics you may be looking to get some guidance, give me a call.
A graduate of Rutgers Business School, Nick is a Brian Tracy certified corporate trainer and business coach, a licensed Navigational Conversation program facilitator, and practice mentor. Today, Nick works with entrepreneurs in multiple industries and does executive coaching in the financial services arena. He is also the owner of FocalPoint Business Coaching of New Jersey and is the NJ Area Developer for FocalPoint International. Nick is active in several prominent business associations including the New Jersey Business & Industry Assoc., and serves on the board of the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council. Married for 30 years, Nick and Eileen have two successful boys and split time between their homes in New Jersey and North Carolina. Nick enjoys golf, exercise, and spending time with family. To learn more about Nick or to contact him directly, click here.