How You Work Matters, But What You Work On Matters A Lot More

Jan 12, 2018 1 Min Read


Want to achieve more? Take a page from Sheryl Sandberg, and start “ruthlessly prioritising”. Here’s why.

Many people get things done. They consistently check items off their to-do lists.

They’re extremely busy — but are they accomplishing what matters most? Are they achieving what they truly hope to achieve?

Highly successful people are also efficient, but they take that effort to the next level. They focus on accomplishing the tasks that will make the biggest difference for themselves, for their families, for their businesses.

Unlike merely efficient people, they get the right things done. And that’s what makes them so successful.

Nuggets of wisdom

As Sandberg says: “I think the most important thing we’ve learnt as we’ve grown is that we have to prioritise. We talk about it as ruthless prioritisation. And by that, what we mean is only do the very best of the ideas.

“Lots of times you have very good ideas. But they’re not as good as the most important thing you could be doing. And you have to make the hard choices.”

Work and purpose

Work without genuine purpose is just work. Successful people don’t just know what to do; they know why.

They establish a long-term goal and then ruthlessly prioritise their short-term goals – and activities – that support the long-term goal.

In short, successful people have purpose – and that purpose informs everything they do. That’s why they seem so dedicated and organised and consistently on-task.

They’re not slaves to a routine; they’re simply driven to reach their goals, and quick to eliminate roadblocks and put aside distractions that stand in their way.

Ruthless prioritisation

That’s what ruthless prioritisation is all about. Set your goals first. Decide what success means to you.

Keep in mind that how you define success is totally up to you. Then ruthlessly prioritise so that you do the most important things you should be doing.

Don’t just get things done. Get the right things done. That’s the best way to achieve the goals that matter most to you.


Jeff Haden is a speaker, ghostwriter, and author of The Motivation Myth: How Highly Successful People Really Set Themselves Up to Win. To get in touch with him, email


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This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

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