April 29, 2015
Occasionally when I teach the 5-item limit in the Critical Now section, I get some push back, and it usually goes as follows: “I will definitely do more that 5 critical items today, so this 5-item limit is unrealistic.”
My answer is this:
You can absolutely do way more than 5 critical items in a day. I am just asking you to limit the size of the list at any given point in time to 5 items. So, let’s say it is 10 AM and you find you are about to add some more items that will put Critical Now over 5. My advice is to then stop and get some of the items already on the list done to make room, and then add the additional items.
The reasons for the 5-item limit are many.
One is to force you to get some of the items done early in the day. Don’t let them build up and try to get them all done at 6 pm. That’s why you are working till 9 pm each day.
The main reason for the limit, though, is that when Critical Now gets over five the list becomes a blur, and I can guarantee something is going to drop through the cracks—I guarantee it!
So if it’s getting larger than 5, put the lowest priority of them at the top of the Opportunity Now list (using the Target now approach) to show that they are slightly lower priority compared to the five in the Critical Now.
Also, I have to ask you, if you routinely have 10, 15, 20 critical now items per day, I wonder if these are not operational tasks that are better tracked my a dedicated operational system. For example, if your job is to process 40 invoices a day, I hope you have an invoice management system. Or if you make 25 sales calls a day, you should be using a CRM system. Don’t try to use MYN for tracking lots of repeating operational tasks. You are using the wrong tool for the wrong job.
And finally, let’s do a reality check. Are all the items in the Critical Now section really absolutely, positively due today? I bet you are stretching that definition for many of the items.
So again, 5-items max in Critical Now!