Balance and Productivity in Leadership

Everyday Habits that Regain Personal Productivity

Years ago I compiled a list of basic practices and habits proven to support balance and productivity in leadership.

Truthfully, I was "burning the candle at both ends." I had to find constructive ways to adjust the way I worked.

I put my list into practice. Eventually it became a book, 52 Solutions for Those Who Need a 25 Hour Day. But, you don't need to buy the book. I've compiled it all right here, and added even more resources for you.

Below is a list of 52 practices or habits that can help you be more balanced and productive. But, to benefit from it you have to be intentional. Just reading it won't do you any good. Applying even one of the practices, will. 

INSTRUCTIONS

52 Solutions Cover

For every practice you feel is important to you RIGHT NOW, you will find five days of self-coaching exercises.

Pick one 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. They will help you to avoid burnout. And, they will reintroduce balance and productivity in leadership.


52 Solutions for Those Who Need a 25 Hour Day


  1.  Use the 80/20 Principle
  2.  Plan Your Day 
  3.  Conquer Your To-Do List 
  4.  Harness the Power of Three 
  5.  Capture Your Thoughts 
  6.  Say “No” A Whole Lot More 
  7.  Be Accountable 
  8.  Prepare for Meetings 
  9.  Plan Time for Renewal 
  10.  Speak with Clarity 
  11.  Create a Shield to Guard Your Time 
  12.  Stop Making Assumptions. Know the Facts 
  13.  Persevere 
  14.  Adequately Fund Your Project 
  15.  Relieve Yourself of Other Responsibilities 
  16.  Work with a Great Team 
  17.  Prepare for People Who Don't Understand 
  18.  Let Your Purpose Determine Your Schedule 
  19.  Give Yourself Time to Think, Schedule a Quiet Time
  20.  Don't Manage Your Image for Others 
  21.  Reject Busyness as a Bragging Point 
  22.  Enjoy the Journey 
  23.  Avoid Using the Word “Should” 
  24.  Cultivate Good Friendships 
  25.  Focus on One Person at a Time 
  26.  Change Pace 
  27.  Take Responsibility and Deal with Things as They Come Up 
  28.  Focus on the Goal, Not the Clock
  29.  Eliminate Scraps of Paper 
  30.  Handle Things the Least Amount of Times Possible 
  31.  If it's Not an Absolute Yes, it's a No 
  32.  Just Do it Now 
  33.  Embrace Failure 
  34.  Group Lesser and Like Tasks 
  35.  Read Books on Time Management Strategies
  36.  Make the Tough Decisions 
  37.  Work with a Coach 
  38.  Break it Down into Parts 
  39.  Get Your Finances in Order 
  40.  Do it, Ditch it, Delegate it or Delay it 
  41.  Build Character 
  42.  Celebrate Individual Steps 
  43.  Practice Time In, Time On and Time Out 
  44.  STOP 
  45.  Make a Strategic Alliance 
  46.  Plan for the Unexpected 
  47.  Organize Your Files 
  48.  Create Space Between Meetings 
  49.  Accomplish More While Traveling 
  50.  Create a Not-to-Do List 
  51.  Distinguish Between Needs and Wants 
  52.  Balance Simplicity and Complexity



Wondering Where to Start? Assess Your Balance and Productivity in Leadership 

Change and Grow

The statements that follow are based on the 52 practices above. What few statements do you least agree with? You find yourself saying, "That's not me." Maybe it's time to do something about it.    

PLANNING 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.

PLANNING

  • 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.

THINKING

  • 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.

ATTITUDES

  • 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.

TRUSTED ADVISORS

  • 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.

SIMPLE THINGS

  • 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.


Want to Regain Balance and Productivity in Leadership? Practice the Basics

Basics

No matter what you feel you need to work on to regain balance and productivity in leadership, practicing the basics is a must

This is a self-paced, self-coaching “program” about everyday habits, the ones you might have drifted away from. If applied, they will help you in regaining balance and productivity in leadership. 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. 


Pick and Choose Habits that are Most Important to You Right Now

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 above 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.


Simple Practices for Avoiding Burnout and Improving Leadership Effectiveness 

You may have gotten away from some (or many) of these practices. 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, on a weekly basis. 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. 


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