Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

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Urgent vs. Important

by Randall Craig on September 16, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Planning,

Tagged as: , , ,

We are a society looking for instant gratification. When a customer calls, we rush to meet their needs. When we check into a hotel, we expect prompt, courteous service. When we drive our cars, we always take the shortest routes – at the fastest speeds. And when we do a great job, we want to be recognized for it – immediately. Unfortunately, not all things can – or should – happen instantly; some things take time.

There are many shorter-term demands on our time, both at work and at home. Our managers, customers, suppliers, and co-workers all have expectations of us. Our families do too. We make promises to all of these people, and when we deliver, we enjoy a gratifying “thank you”, as well as the intrinsic satisfaction of a job well done.

But what of the longer-term commitments that we make; the ones that are easily deferred when short term priorities (and crises) get in the way? Is there a trick to balancing them out? Probably the most effective way is to simply schedule specific time, every day, to work on longer-term commitments. During this time, don’t take calls, emails, nor schedule meetings. Even if the time scheduled is only 20-30 minutes, it doesn’t take long for the minutes – and your accomplishments – to add up.

This week’s action item: Of all of the items on your to-do list, choose one of them, and schedule it into a fixed, daily slot. And while your calendar is open, schedule some time a few months from now, to look back at the “important” progress you’ve made.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



by Randall Craig on May 20, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Time management

Tagged as: , ,

Without a doubt there are at least some people who are reading this Tipsheet while also listening to music, having an instant-message conversation (or two), and speaking on a telephone conference call.

Supposedly, multi-tasking skills improve with time: eventually, like the computers we rely on, we believe our brain can process multiple streams of activity simultaneously. One eyeball reading a book, the other enjoying a movie, if you will. And younger “millenials” are supposed to have this skill better than anyone else.

It is true that the brain can filter out unimportant distractions, and it is also true that we can monitor the background around us. Unfortunately, filtering and monitoring take processing power — and remove capability from our primary task. And just as filtering and monitoring are skills that get better with practice, so does focus.

Consider the words that describe a person who singletasks: powerful, intense, driven, and focused. Compare the typical words that describe a multi-tasker: distracted, too busy, checked-out, and unfocused.

Singletasking is a skill that is critical when all of your attention – and your thinking power – is required. For most people, this means during critical meetings: sales pitches, networking meetings, and interviews. It is equally important on the personal front: the quality of a serious conversation can improve dramatically when your attention isn’t split.

This week’s action item: Choose a specific time of the day – even an hour – for singletasking. While you may feel disconnected from the rush of multiple inputs, you will be surprised at the efficiency – and the quality – of what you accomplish.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Don’t Focus on Results

by Randall Craig April 24, 2007

Did you reach your quota? Have you completed that report? Did you win your case? How many people did you serve today? While you might be measured on different criteria, there is one common thread: each of these statements focuses on results. And focusing on results… results in, well, results. But is this really true? […]

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