If I asked you how you were doing today, I'd guess your response might include the word "busy.” I know I would say it.
Being busy as a leader can happen slowly over time, sometimes without us even noticing it. We get in the habit of taking on too much, which leads to too much work or too many activities. Perhaps we're covering for someone who has left or the company is growing rapidly.
Unfortunately, when this happens, it’s not always effective. Sometimes the extra work includes tasks or activities that add little or no value to us or our employer. Perhaps we feel we need to do this because, well, things are so busy.
“It’s not my fault I’m so busy; just look at everything that has to be done around here!”
We increase the number of hours we work, but we don’t increase the value or productivity with those extra hours. Which only makes us feel busier.
We make excuses for how busy we are. But what we’re really doing is letting something take priority over what truly is important or the things that matter to us most.
Although it would be easy to blame others for this lack of control, at the end of the day, we are the only one in the driver’s seat. We decide whether to hit the gas and make a change, or to remain in park.
Life is like money. It’s up to you how you want to spend it. To take positive steps forward, you must take back control of your day. Here’s how:
Take back ownership
Check out the book Extreme Ownership; it’s filled with great takeaways. The one I go to most is the idea that, in any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.
Prioritize your priorities
We need to focus on what’s most important. So another book I often reference is Essentialism. So many people say they want to exercise more but don't have time. Yet the average American watches over 2.5 hours of screen time per day. There is time if we are willing to prioritize.
Be humbly selfish
By prioritizing, that means you put yourself first sometimes, which can feel awkward and wrong to some of us. Think about it like this: You’re flying in an airplane, you lose cabin pressure, and the oxygen masks drop. You must put your mask on first before helping others. If you go down, so will the person next to you.
Get comfortable with delegating
Once you know your priorities, you know what tasks need to be done by someone else. A leader who I look up to once said that the most valuable skills a leader can possess is the ability to delegate to others.
It's time to get busy on taking back control of our days. And it starts with owning the issue, prioritizing our, being humbly selfish, and getting comfortable with delegating.