Every day we wake up. And every day we are inevitably supposed to do something. Whether it’s to write a report, make a phone call, book an order, meet with a new client, or whatever that something is. There is always something that needs to be done. That something has a high priority and value too. And that something probably has a timeline associated with it.

Side Note:
If you find yourself with truly nothing to do on any given day then more power to you and good for you. However, I’m guessing you, like almost everyone else, DOES have somewhere to be and does have SOMETHING they need to do. Setting your OBT will help you get it done.

How do you decide what that something is to do every day? Well, truth be told we don’t always get to decide what it is or what the priority is. We all have bosses — even if we work for ourselves. Those bosses want things done and they expect them done within the timelines and with the specific deliverables we promised.

Your OBT empowers you

I suggest that by aligning your day around Your OBT you will be much more successful. Your reputation will precede you because of your knack of getting things done. Your ability to succeed and get more done will also contribute to your success. These two factors will compound themselves making you ever more successful. So, just what is an OBT? We’ll get to that in a moment.

Work is a four letter word

Work can be made much more effective when you put your OBT front and center. Then put a plan in place to accomplish your OBT. Your work will become more predictable. Partially because having your OBT front and center will allow you to accommodate schedule adjustments. Your peers, customers and partners will appreciate your ability to get things done. Your OBT empowers you.

Bonus: When your OBT is in place you can confidently say no to things that take you off task.

What is an OBT and how can you use it?

An OBT is One Big Thing. Your OBT is that One Big Thing you MUST do before your day is over.

Whether you do it in the morning, mid-day or in the evening there is inevitably ONE BIG THING that must be done on a specific day. Plan for it.

  • The faster you can identify your OBT the sooner you can do something about it.
  • You can (and should) use your OBT to layout your schedule for the day.
  • You should be using your OBT to determine what time you need to be somewhere. Or when you need to have something done.

For me I like getting things done in the morning, but your schedule and your work style may dictate different timing.

The point is… set your OBT and align everything else around it. Your OBT empowers you.

How do I use my OBT?

For me I look at my calendar for the coming week and make sure I have all my ducks in a row… then I try to lock down my OBT for each day.

It can be big deliverable or it can be a small piece of a bigger thing. Just having an OBT allows me to focus on what’s important and not feel badly if I have to say no to something else.

What if your OBT is dependent upon others?

That’s OK. Work these dependencies into your schedule.

For example, your OBT on some days may be to secure the schedule commitments from others.

Your OBT is not the boss of you

Although your OBT should consume part of your day it ultimately is not the boss of you. If your OBT is getting you down or causing undue stress consider delegating or getting help.

I’m not suggesting you shirk your responsibilities. I’m merely suggesting that you align your goals and roles. If they aren’t fun… find something else. Find something where you can set OBT’s that are in-line with your career goals.

Use your OBT to create success

By looking at your schedule for the day you can and should assign yourself an OBT. Be as quiet or vocal as you want about your OBT. But, use the OBT to set your schedule, your deliverables and your timelines. Ultimately an OBT is a time management skill that lets you build your reputation for getting things done.

As you get better at setting Your OBT’s you may start looking a few days, weeks or months out into the future.

There you have it. A simple time management skill that starts with you. Remember, your OBT empowers you.

What’s Your OBT for tomorrow?


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.