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Squirrel!?! Don’t Prioritize by Distraction

“Squirrel!” One of my customers used it in a conversation explaining her tendency to “chase after bright, shiny objects.”

She was imitating the dogs in the Disney / Pixar movie, “Up.”  Whenever they noticed a squirrel,

  • They’d stop mid-sentence.
  • They’d yell, “Squirrel!”
  • They’d wait, all staring in one direct.
  • Then they’d continue where they left off.

Click on the video and you’ll see.

I’m an Infusionsoft consultant focused on helping Infusionsoft users make the most of the tool for promoting and automating their businesses.  Note: I use the word “focused” lightly here, because I see that very same - “Squirrel!” - behavior often enough in my day-to-day.

I’ll start the day off with a prioritized lists of tasks.  It usually consists of activities related to implementation of my firm’s and customer’s Infusionsoft and Internet marketing projects.  My top priority is to keep our marketing and sales activities moving and assisting my team members with development and configuration issues needing my higher level of expertise.

But often enough, and sometimes unfortunately minutes after reviewing my to-do list, I’m off doing something else.

  • An email came in that sort of couldn’t wait.
  • Something much more fun caught my attention as I traversed the net.
  • The phone rang and something else that seemed pretty important took over.

I could say it’s because of my gear head, technical, Infusionsoft consultant ways.  I’m an engineer by golly, but I’d be lying to myself.  The allure of the bright, shiny objects tends to take over.  I’m a very driven business owner and I’m always looking for bigger and better ways of doing what I do well.  I like pushing the envelope which is what has helped my team and I deliver some pretty exciting campaigns for customers.

But the lack of focus and a tendency to start many and never finish a large number of projects big and small can become a huge productivity log jam.

And I know I’m not alone.  I have a handful of customers that not only use my Infusionsoft consulting skills, but also use me sort of as a coach to keep them organized and focused.  We work together on a list of priorities and run through them on a weekly basis.  Then I’ll get midweek emails that clearly show evidence that they drifted.  Squirrel!!  That throws me into coach mode shedding light on the value that a particular activity added to their stated goals.

What’s really important is admitting you have a problem. (I know, I sound like I’m in a 12 Step Program or something.)  Yes, I’m coming clean and my project coordinator reviews and edits all my writing so I’m coming clean with her too.  I too enlist my team of supporters and ask them to hold me accountable.  It’s very helpful.

Share your priorities with your team and empower them to challenge you when the tasks you take on don’t support the priorities.  In many cases, it might be that the priorities need to change.  You don’t want to succumb to rigidness either.  But I know 8 times out of 10, the issue for me is that I’m chasing the next bright, shiny object - Squirrel! - and not staying true to the mission I set for myself.

Hope this helps.

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