"Are you busy right now? Are you already behind on what you wanted to accomplish today? Or this week? Or this year? Are you hoping this will be a short post so you can get back to the million things on your to-do list that are breathing down your neck? Okay, I'll get on with it: Our culture is obsessed with time. This is our real deficit crisis, and one that, unlike the more commonly discussed deficit, is actually getting worse. In fact, researchers have given this crisis a name: "time famine."
Being time poor is one of the 6 great challenges that must be overcome to ensure a highly successful 21st century enterprise.
Just one intention and two actions needed to say goodbye to being time poor.
Everything begins with intention. Stop trying to do everything. Not everything really matters. Most of what we choose to do each day doesn't really matter.
What choices are you making?
Get over everything you can't do anything about. Instead focus on what you can do something about.
What are you trying to achieve that you know in your heart you can't change or influence?
"The only difference between successfully people and unsuccessful people is that succesful people have successful habits."
The time rich people I know are clear on the critical actions they must take and achievements they must fulfill regardless of whatever else happens. Their actions and achievements have become habits. One habit really matters when it comes to being time rich, following rituals.
Rituals - the actions we must take regardless of whatever else happens.
Following rituals means deliverables, the outcomes we must achieve regardless of whatever else happens, are a consequence not a focus.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
Two actions: get past the barrier of busyness and start following rituals.
Getting past the barrier of busyness
I am often reminded of the barrier of busyness. I meet a lot of people bound up by busyness.
Here are some of the tell tale signs
- Problem Solving & Decision Making processes not being followed
- Decisions being continually revisited
- Documentation is produced in lieu of action
- Meetings occur with key players absent
- Meetings have no agendas
- Meetings are poorly conducted
- Whiteboards full
- Diaries full
- Inboxes full
- Negative body language of staff
- The leadership and management relationship harmony point has not been found
- Massive confusion exists between what is communication and what is information sharing
I could go on and on.
Here are a 11 actions to take to ensure you are not bound by busyness
- Educate yourself and others that communication requires both sending and receiving and results in agreement even if it is agreeing to disagree. Information sharing on the other hand is one way
- Refuse to attend meetings where there is no agenda available well in advance. Don't discuss anything not on the agenda
- Review your effectiveness weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly
- Set aside time each week to do nothing. I sit under a tree somewhere for 4 hours per week. It is amazing how refreshed we can feel just by doing nothing
- Get your leadership and management balance right. For some of us it is 80% leadership and 20% management, for others the other way round, and many other combinations.
Remember leadership is about people and effectiveness. Management is about systems and efficiency. Leadership is art, management practice. The two must be in harmony for us to be the best we can be
- Do not tolerate negativity in any shape or form
- Block out a lot of space in your diary where nothing is planned. You will be astounded at how much more effective you become when your diary is no longer full
- Work on things that are important and urgent. Forget the rest
- Celebrate process more than outcome
- Spend time with positive children as often as possible. They have an amazing sense of self, initiative, curiosity, creativity and wonder
- Focus on standards or rituals not goals or results
Ian Berry CSP