Years ago, I created a list of basic habits I thought would help me in maintaining balance and productivity in leadership.
Truthfully, I was "burning the candle at both ends." Like they sometimes say, "It was the best of years. It was the worst of years."
I needed to find constructive ways to change, or remain overloaded and on a path to burnout.
I crafted my list for my own situation. It helped me outline practices I had found helpful or that I wanted to do more consistently. I've continued to make these things a continuous practice ever since.
My list eventually became a book, 52 Solutions for Those Who Need a 25 Hour Day.
For more background, thoughts and explanation, go to the bottom of the page. Otherwise, the list is next. It’s simple and basic. But to benefit from it you have to be intentional. Just reading it won't do you a speck of good. Applying even one of the practices will.
For every habit you feel is important to you RIGHT NOW, you will find five days of self-coaching exercises.
Pick a practice that seems most relevant to your situation and begin working on it.
Work on it until it becomes a habit. Every good practice you put in place will reduce stress and regain productivity. Small wins add up and boost confidence.
I am currently rebuilding this whole section to better serve my clients and visiting leaders. It should be back up soon.
FOR THE WORKDAY
I resign from lesser priority responsibilities in order to create greater focus
I maintain momentum, even on jobs I may not enjoy
I change my pace from time to time during the day.
GETTING IT DONE
I work from a to-do list of true priorities.
I have a not-to-do list allowing me to better allocate my time.
My purpose for being here determines those things I commit my schedule to.
I bring true priorities to completion before going on to other things.
I make time to be quiet so I can think clearly.
I very rarely say, “I should.” If it’s important I do it.
I spend time planning my daily, weekly and monthly schedule.
I focus on the desired outcome, not the clock.
I spend intentional time working on my business versus always working in it.
I plan for the unexpected.
I have learned to stop and move in a new direction as soon as I sense it is needed.
I write or record thoughts and information for later use.
I do not assume. I endeavor to get my information correct.
When I go into meetings, I have done the prep work I agreed to do
DEMANDS ON MY TIME
I have no problem saying ‘No’ to requests that are made to me.
I know and guard my most productive time from interruptions.
If my answer deep down really needs to be ‘No’, I say ‘No.’
I am mentally prepared for people who just don’t get it.
I take advantage of being accountable to another in order to be more effective.
I guard my time and am not available on demand.
I take action on situations requiring my input right when they come up.
I endeavor to handle things just once.
I exercise decisiveness. I do not procrastinate on needed decisions.
I do it, delegate it, ditch it or appropriately delay it as soon as it comes up.
I plan for and follow through on activities that renew me personally.
I do not manage my image for other people.
I never use being busy as a bragging point. I am not addicted to busyness.
I try to maintain a happy and positive attitude.
I actively work on building and maintaining good friendships.
I see unpleasant tasks as temporary and take a positive attitude toward them.
I don’t let what I want to be doing deviate me from what I need to be doing.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS
I am told I clearly communicate so people understand what I am saying.
I give people my focused attention for better communication.
I acknowledge a job well done with positive words and actions.
I plan for and provide adequate funding to move forward priorities.
I have quality board members who are passionate about me being my best.
I work with a Coach to help move me further than I now think possible.
I am not a lone star. If beneficial, I make alliances that move forward priorities.
I have eliminated scraps of paper. I can easily find any information I have.
I use the simplest technology I need to accomplish my priorities.
I use an excellent system of working, reference and archive files.
I leave breathing space between appointments.
MAKING THE DAY WORK
I look for project bottlenecks and solve them immediately.
My workplace is set up to work on the highest priority first thing in the day.
I group lesser tasks to save time.
I immediately incorporate strategies to improve my effectiveness.
I easily break down large responsibilities into smaller, doable steps.
My day has rhythm with periods of intensity and periods of less demand.
I have a strategy to get productive things done during extensive travel time.
Productivity, effectiveness, promotion or contribution. Confidence, skill, clarity or momentum. Relationships, time management or dealing with burnout. No matter what you feel you need to work on, practicing the basics is a must. You can use this a Guide to regaining balance and productivity in leadership.
This is a self-paced, self-coaching “program” about everyday habits, the ones you might have drifted away from. This isn't about speed or brilliance. It's about regaining control of YOUR time, energy and confidence.
Reducing stress by creating some easy-to-do wins in your workday will create space to work on solutions to those “larger” things that contribute to overload and burnout. This won’t solve burnout by itself. But it is one part of the equation.
Paying attention to a small number of basic things that made you successful in the first place will help regain focus, confidence and control, and set you up for greater wins. It will contribute to regaining or enhancing balance and productivity for leaders.
Work at your own pace on putting simple strategies back in place that will help you regain efficient, productive and effective work patterns. Regaining even a few good practices of balance and productivity in leadership will reduce stress and bring the satisfaction of creating some meaningful wins, when having a win is a real boost.
The list that follows isn't a fancy time management system. It's a list of everyday habits that leaders, executives and professionals who want to do well, put into practice each and every day. You may have gotten away from some of them. And while it is not the key source of your stress, it is a contributing factor. I've found that paying attention to things that ARE within your control, plays a big role in rebuilding hope and resilience.
Every one of these habits or strategies come right out of my work with clients over the past many years of executive and leadership performance coaching.
This structure will provide you a different area to work on, in your own life, on a weekly basis. Life and managing stress is made up of habits, strategies and techniques. A small change in one area can result in significant positive change across a broad range of life and leadership areas.
Regaining balance and productivity in leadership isn't mythical. It's deliberate and achievable.