As I looked at this week, I took a deep breath and felt myself physically brace for what lay ahead. Each day held between 5 and 7 hours of scheduled meetings. Fortunately, this is no longer what my typical work week looks like but, whoa, did this cause me to take a pause as I saw the array of blocked times on my calendar.

Typically, what I would have done is thought, “that’s nice, but I still have this laundry list of things to get done this week…so, I’m just going to power through it.” The problem with this is two-fold:

  1. The people you are meeting with do not get the best of you.

  2. The work you are trying to advance may not get the focus and attention it deserves.

I chose, instead, to take a good hard look at the “to-do” list and narrow it down to only those things that absolutely had to get done this week. This short list, while not easy, was much more reasonable than what I’d originally planned to get done. And, I’d already decided that, if I needed to, I could take the same hard look at my meetings for the week and see if there were any that I could postpone.

Not only did this exercise allow me to more intentionally focus my energy and attention throughout the week, but it also enabled me to be realistic with myself and those I interacted with. It was very easy for me to explain to someone that the earliest I could give them the information was next week. Because of this focus, by Thursday, I had accomplished the short list and was able to go back and determine the few additional items I could make progress on for the remainder of the week.

So, rather than walking out of the week exhausted and demoralized that “I’d gotten nothing done,” I felt as though I had achieved what I’d set out to for the week, and then some.

How do you set yourself up for success rather than disappointment?