The Action Management Sword (part two of five)

Part Two: The Action Management Sword

I can pick from numerous criteria to manage my actions. To name just a few:

  • context (does completing this action require my computer / being somewhere where I can make phone calls / coordinating with another person?)
  • time available (how long do I have, and how long will it take to complete this action?)
  • priority (how high on my priority list is this action?)
  • sheer whimsy (what do I feel like doing?)

I’ve found all of those criteria useful in one way or another, but none of them compare to what I call the Action Management Sword. My Action Management Sword slashes through the unnecessary and tips its point straight to the heart of the matter. It’s the line at the top of my weekly plan that reads:

Which actions are most in line with my purpose?

Zen to Done describes this as “only hav[ing] those commitments in your life that really give you joy and value”. Getting Things Done prompts the GTD user to process his/her inbox with a view to his/her purpose. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey claims that effective people spend most of their time in his Quadrant II: working on tasks that are important and non-urgent, i.e. tasks that arise from one’s purpose (I found a nice explanation of Quadrant II here).

All of these books emphasize that in order to manage my actions, I need to understand what I’m here for. Through my insatiable addiction to personal growth books and exercises and coaching, I’m clear on my purpose. At its simplest, it is:

I help people grow and change.

For an action to deserve my time and attention, it must either help people grow and change, or help me help people grow and change.

What purpose determines your choice of actions?

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Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] parts one and two in this series: I Can’t Manage Time and The Action Management Sword […]

  2. […] I’ve said that my best tool for managing actions is my action management sword: clarity of purpose. I’ve referenced the Big Rocks concept to show that putting my big chunks of purpose work […]

  3. […] one, two, three, and four in this […]