Do What Matters Most Book Summary - Do What Matters Most Book explained in key points
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Do What Matters Most summary

Rob Shallenberger and Steve Shallenberger

Lead with a Vision, Manage with a Plan, Prioritize Your Time

4.5 (786 ratings)
19 mins
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    Do What Matters Most
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    Manage your time more effectively by prioritizing what matters most.

    Here’s a story from one of the authors, a former US air force pilot. He was on a routine training mission, and everything seemed just fine. He banked the plane into a 180-degree turn, and then an alert from one of the systems in the cockpit caught his attention. As he looked down to work the various switches and buttons, another jet unexpectedly crossed his flight path. 

    Both planes were tearing through the sky at 1000 mph. They nearly collided, missing one another by less than 100 feet.

    Later, during the debrief, both pilots gave the same reason for why they didn’t notice the other jet: they were overwhelmed by activity inside their own cockpits. This is an example of what’s known as task saturation. It happens when a pilot has so much going on that he struggles to process everything the environment throws at him. This can lead to dangerous oversight, and it’s a problem in the airspace as well as in the workplace.

    The key message here is: Manage your time more effectively by prioritizing what matters most. 

    You’re probably not a fighter pilot, but there’s a good chance that you, too, have experienced task saturation in daily life. Remember: task saturation happens when there’s a lot going on and too little time to address it all. Sixty-eight percent of managers surveyed by the authors said their number one challenge was focusing on what matters most. Eighty percent didn’t have a clear process for how to prioritize their time.

    The authors’ answer was to create a simple process for managing time more effectively. It is loosely based on how the airforce works. Pilots are trained to focus on the most critical signals, known as primary instruments. They may show, for instance, airspeed or altitude. In the jet, you need to prioritize them if you want to stay alive. In your workspace you, too, can overcome task saturation by learning to prioritize. 

    The “do what matters most” method consists of developing three habits: writing down a personal vision, setting annual goals for both your professional and personal lives, and planning the next week in advance. 

    But, just like the author needed a debrief to assess his flight, you, too, need to step back before you start prioritizing – as you’ll hear in the next blink.

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    What is Do What Matters Most about?

    Do What Matters Most (2021) is a guide to managing your time more efficiently. It will help you boost performance and stay focused on what matters most. This pack offers a whole bag of tricks, such as developing a personal vision, setting annual goals, and following a weekly list of priorities.

    Who should read Do What Matters Most?

    • Executives and managers who want to become better leaders
    • Employees and professionals who want to boost productivity
    • People seeking a step-by-step process for time management

    About the Author

    Steve Shallenberger is the founder and chairman of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, a training company. He also helped create the Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center.

    Rob Shallenberger is CEO of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership. Before becoming a leadership coach, he flew F-16s for the Airforce and served in the Secret Service.

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