It's so easy to always try to do more, more, more. We run around at work like hamsters on a wheel; over-exerting ourselves. Then, exhausted we find that we don't have the time and energy for the things that matter most to us. As mom to two teenage daughters, CEO and endurance athlete I have found myself over-exerting more than once. And I see it happen to many of the leaders that I work with.
So I came up with a set of questions and answers to help me decide if something at work is worth spending my precious energy on and regaining my health and happiness at work so I can focus on what matters most to me. It proved so effective that I started sharing it with the CEOs and business leaders that I coach.
This quick Q&A has some simple ways to say no, do less, and get more efficient with your work day. When you exert less, you will conserve time and energy so that you can use it instead to focus on what really matters to you.
Ask yourself the questions below, take a hard honest look at what is eating up your precious time and energy.
- Do you attend meetings that you really don't need to attend? Stop going.
- Do you lead/attend meetings that are poorly planned or attended? Fix this.
- Do you think your people come to you too often for review or approval? Delegate better.
- Do you feel that you lead/get invited to unplanned meetings too often? Challenge these.
- Do you fully leverage existing technology to be efficient? Let others teach you.
- Do you regularly spend time thinking strategically about growth? Schedule time in your calendar.
- Do you regularly do "nice-to-do" activities first thing in the day? Only do these in your spare time.
- Do you regularly stop work activities or initiatives when you conduct a review? Start now.
- Do your employees identify work that they feel should be stopped? Create a routine to listen to them. Believe me, they know.
- Do your employees say no to you? Encourage them to do so.
- Do you lead an underfunded project? Stop or defer it, or get the right funding.
- Do you have multiple projects underway? If so ask yourself these questions to conserve more time!
- Redundancies--Can an activity undertaken by multiple teams be done by one team? Stop the activity in one or more of the project teams.
- Time interdependencies--Can one project incorporate a first step (e.g., gather data) to make it faster or easier for the other teams? Sequence the work smarter.
- Synergies--Can two or more project teams learn more or save time by doing some activities together? Focus on the one or two areas where you can get the greatest synergies.
Even just implementing two or three of these simple strategies will help you to take back some of your precious time and energy at work this year.