I just got off the phone with a client, and she shared with me that for the last six months or so she has been working more than 70 hours a week. I understand that leaders sometimes do have to work long hours, yet six months at a stretch seems a really long time.
My client, like you, has a finite number of hours. You are both a finite resource…a valuable one. So you both need to invest yourself wisely. Consider how you use your time, your energy, your focus, your genius.
I’d love to know how many hours you’re working and how reasonable you think that is.
⏰ How many hours a week are you working right now?
👉 How does that fit with your idea of how many hours you should be working?
👉 How are you adding the most value, elevating your influence, and making the biggest impact?
Leaders get busy. I understand that. They have big portfolios. Totally get it.Yet I think sometimes we get so caught up in the busy-ness that we forget to take that step back and really have a broader perspective. Take a look toward the horizon and see how we’re investing ourselves and whether we are actually making the difference that we want to. To consider whether we are contributing to our roles the way that we should be.
Did you know that less than 15% of the population are high performing?
And, did you know those who are high performers spend at least 65% of their work effort and time on the things that have high impact and are not urgent?
Most people do not make the impact, have the influence or create the difference they intend to in their leadership roles. This applies just as much to experienced executives as to early leaders. It’s easy to get focused on the urgent and caught in a reactive cycle where you’re playing catchup, and don’t have the time or opportunity to really lead.
And yet just about everyone does want to make a difference. Does want to have an impact as a leader.
I want you to be performing at your best as often as possible, to get into a rhythm that means you are making your difference.
How do you do it?
There are two key questions you need to be asking yourself on a regular basis to keep yourself focused on the right things, so that you have influence and impact, and make a difference in your leadership role.
Question 1: What am I doing now that I shouldn’t be?
There are many leaders who find themselves incredibly busy, and what I find is when they ask themselves that question, what am I doing right now that I shouldn’t be, it’s quite revealing.
You know that you need to be working on things that are important.
You know you need to be working on things that have an impact, that make a difference.
That is not about ticking off a to-do list.
It’s about choosing the things that will actually contribute to making a difference. To moving your team and your organisation towards achieving its vision. To delivering on the purpose.
So if you are doing busy work, if you are doing work that actually belongs with your team members, that sort of thing, then you need to let it go. That might mean getting rid of some things that don’t add value. It might mean delegating more.
It might mean expecting your people to step up and be more accountable because you shouldn’t be reviewing their work. They should be giving you completed work. It should be choosing what you’re actually going to focus on and letting go of the rest.
And you know what that is. I bet, if you were honest with yourself, you already know what that is. You’re doing some things that don’t belong in your diary.
Using the Time Management matrix, developed by Stephen Covey, to identify the work you are doing, and how important it is, is one way of determining what you need to let go of.
TIP – you want to be operating in Q2, High Impact and Low urgency, at least 65% of the time.
It is up to you to take the action and remove the things that shouldn’t be in your space.
Question 2: What am I not doing now that I should be?
Almost every leader I speak to has a wish list. A list of things they wish that they could get to. Strategic things, significant improvements, change. Things that they really want to be able to do, that they know will make a difference, but they are too busy doing other things. So this list does not get actioned.
If you have things that you are not doing right now that you should be, then in six months’ time what difference will there be? If you do not start to focus on those important and strategic things, if you don’t put some of your time and your energy and focus into those important things, what will be your contribution?
What are the things that you need to take action on? What kind of difference would that make?
Those are the two key questions for you consider in order to elevate your leadership impact. You can reflect on them regularly and I suggest getting your people to reflect on them as well.
✅ What are you doing now that you shouldn’t be? And,
✅ What are you not doing now that you should be?
What’s the difference that you can make? What’s the value that you can add in your role for yourself, for your team, for your organisation, to move you all forward? Because that is what you’re there to do as a leader.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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