It's a challenge I think everyone faces. People will say, “Oh, I'm sorry to bother you. You're so busy.” Well I know that person, and they’re as busy as I am. Everybody has things that are pulling at them. I know many people like me who fall into this trap of “If I can just get my email caught up, if I can just get my inbox empty…” And it lasts about one hour, then I wake up and it's full again.
I think it’s a false sense of accomplishment to say your life will be organized once you have your inbox under control. It's a false goal. Not to say we shouldn't work on that, but I learned from my organization and from Stephen Covey a tried and true way to manage my time and energy.
Every Sunday night, I look at my week and the things I've already committed to. Can any of those be changed if they need to be? Are they still the most important things I need to accomplish? What’s the most impactful thing I can do this week for each of my most important roles?
I decide which task, appointments, or commitments are my highest priorities, and then I lock them in my calendar. I don't know what's going to come when I walk in the door every morning. But having done that exercise on Sunday night—while I don't execute perfectly on the week—I stay much closer to the plan, than if I didn't do that pre-planning.
There have been some Sunday nights when I have skipped that process. It has been a dramatically different week. It doesn't work to say I'll do it Monday morning, because the challenges already hit.
Managing time and energy is and will be an ongoing challenge, I think for everybody. I don't know anyone who does it perfectly, but I do know some who do it better than others. And it's because they planned their week around the things that are most important to them in their personal and professional lives.
Leading a team requires a different skillset than working as an individual contributor. To succeed in the face of new challenges, first-level leaders need to shift how they think and act. Download our latest guide and develop your people into a high-performing team.
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Todd Davis