The Curse of the Immediate Priority
Immediate priorities do more than rob business leaders from the opportunity to think strategically, they also rob the best time. Strategic thinking requires a clear mind. Fatigue diminishes critical thinking skills. This means that even if an IP strategist can clear his immediate priorities by day’s end, when he does have an opportunity to do strategic thinking, he may not be in the best mindset to succeed.
The only way to address this problem is to make strategic thinking an immediate priority. Since people with whom we work – employees, bosses, customers, partners, competitors – will have their own say on that effort, this may mean finding a way to get your thinking done apart from their influences. How to do this is highly personal. For me, it often means rising before dawn and going to the gym where I can allow my mind to work on the more strategic problems of my efforts. It also means that if I expect a late night, I push back priorities that are more rote to later in the day when fatigue will have less impact on my performance. This is no different in principle than doing the heavier lifts in a gym first and the lighter lifts afterward – critical thinking burns a lot of calories, and you will usually perform better when you do the heavy thinking while you are fresh.
Image credit: a.drian