“You can do anything, but not everything”David Allen
Fact – as your leadership career grows, so will your workload. This is especially true in an industry that is going through so much change. How many hats do you wear today?
When you become overloaded, you start to live your life in the reactive zone and quickly move from one fire to another.
- Your head is just above the water, but you could sink at any time
- You are coping now, but the long-term results may not be pretty
- Your career suffers as you do not have the time to invest in developing yourself, networking and investing time more strategically with your team
- Your health starts to suffer due to overwork, stress, not getting to the gym and eating what you can when you can
- You have to spend more time at work, so the relationship with your family and friends starts to suffer. Even when you are with them, you are not really there
Here are 4 strategies I have used in the past to help –
1. Define Success at Work
Write down what success in your role means. This should be aligned to the places where you add the most value to the organisation i.e.
- Spending time with your team
- Removing blockers for your team
- Building relationships with your clients
- Adding value to strategic initiatives
Now look at what you have on your plate and determine how it aligns to your success criteria.
If it does, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, then it is time for some difficult conversations
I use the same strategy today for my business. My success is
measured by having a conversation with a client or potential client every hour
of my working day. If I am not doing that, then it is doing what I need to do
to create that conversation. Everything is left until later.
2. Define Success at Home
Write down what it means to you to be a good parent and a good partner.
Are you meeting this? If not, then it’s time to create and enforce some boundaries.
- What time are you going to leave the office?
- Will you do some work in the evening – if so between what hours?
- Will you answer emails and calls at home? – if so between what hours?
- Will you attend late-night conference calls? – if so between what hours?
- Are there fixed / unmovable appointments in your weekly calendar?
Also, check out my blog post on boundaries – How to Use Work Boundaries to Find Time for You
3. Define Success for You
Many people I know spend time on their career and family but always forget themselves. Self-care is so important for your wellbeing. Don’t skip yourself and create and enforce some more boundaries.
- Will you have some time for lunch? – if so what time and how long
- How often and what time of the day will you to the gym?
- How much time do you need for self-development?
- What other boundaries do you need?
- What else?
I always used to book a lunch date with myself every day. I would take a walk, read, listen to a podcast. Just some time for me every day.
4. Crack Open the Productivity Hacks
There are thousands of books, blogs and videos from gurus on the subject.
I have also created a few targeted posts around areas that my clients tell me are the biggest time hoggers at work –
- Ten Leadership Hacks to Slash Time Spent in Meetings
- Reduce Email Overload by Curving Your Addiction
- Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Outlook and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?