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Mice, Antelopes, and Your To-Do List

Mice, Antelopes, and Your To-Do List
antelope in the distance

    You are a wolf. At your job, you spend much of your day chasing, capturing, and eating field mice. At the end of your busy day, you feel exhausted but strangely unfulfilled. Why? Because the energy required to catch a field mouse is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. You can’t live on a diet of field mice. Trying to do so eventually results in starvation.

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    As a wolf, what you really want to eat is antelopes. Antelopes are big. Capturing one might require careful advance planning, cooperation with other wolves, and a full day of intense, focused hunting. Maybe even two or three days. But an antelope, when killed, provides you and your family a royal feast that can sustain you for a week.

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    The difference between the value of mice and antelopes is important when we think about our our daily to-do lists. If we spend our days chasing and eating field mice, we will enjoy the satisfaction of busy activity and short-term accomplishment. And we will get nowhere.

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    If, on the other hand, we spend our days pursuing antelopes (our most significant, highest payoff projects), we may need to plan better, work smarter, and wait longer to see the positive results of our efforts, but those results will move our organizations and our careers forward in measurable, even quantum ways.

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    Are you a mouse hunter, or an antelope hunter?

    “The simple fact is that being busy is easier than not. Responding to each new request, chasing an answer to the latest question, and complaining about overwhelming demands are easier than setting priorities.”

    — Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal, A Bias For Action

    Rob Crawford, a school administrator who loves baseball and acoustic guitars, writes on productivity and impact at Crawdaddy Cove. He thanks Tom Suddes at For Impact for the idea of the mice-antelopes metaphor.

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    Last Updated on September 22, 2019

    The Lifehack Show Episode 8: On Personal Success

    The Lifehack Show Episode 8: On Personal Success
    In this episode of The Lifehack Show, we interview Robert Glazer, who is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, and author of the book Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others.

    Robert shares with us how capacity building can radically improve your life and how his new book acts as a guide to getting started.

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      Episode 8: On Personal Success

      Also available on Apple Podcasts 

      Featured photo credit: Austin Ban via unsplash.com

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