Prioritize: The Time-Saving Method That Balances Leaders’ Lives
The laidback euphoria of another weekend has elapsed into the typical Monday morning. Back-to-back meetings have filled the first half of your day. As you try to focus on their agendas, your smart phone chimes every few seconds. Your inbox is full of emails from colleagues, employees, and prospective clients who need your input on a project or task.
As you move forward throughout your day, your to-do list seems to be growing out of control. It has become your very own Mount Everest. One completed task gets you no closer to the top of total completion. As the clock on your tablet reads 6 pm, a calendar reminder flashes onscreen to remind you that your child’s monthly school lunch date was scheduled for 12 noon today. You missed it—again. It’s almost as if you are trying to put out fires and stay afloat amidst an overflow of responsibilities.
Time is one of the most precious commodities a leader possesses. When an hour elapses it cannot be regained. That’s why it is important for leaders to make the most of their professional and personal time.
Leaders must learn how to prioritize.
The 8 Ps of Exceptional Leadership Blog Series
PRINCIPLE #4: PRIORITIZE
What It Means: Have a sense of what’s most important in both personal
and professional lives. Stay focused through distractions.
“The bottom line is when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and team they work with and prioritize their work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.” ~Steven Covey
With much power comes much responsibility. Leaders must be able to prioritize their tasks so that their companies run efficiently. The workload is not going to change because leaders are at the forefront. How leaders decide what is important is the change that must occur.
Everyone looks to leaders to galvanize them toward the company’s vision. In order to accomplish this task, leaders must be able to decide which tasks should be done first, break large projects into manageable pieces that can be delegated to teams, and seek some balance throughout the whole system of operations.
Leaders must understand that their companies are not the only place they are called to guide others. In their personal lives, they have families, external commitments and other outside responsibilities they must balance. T. D. Jakes is a leader who understands about balancing priorities.
He has learned a strategy to help him: “Touch everything; hold onto nothing”.
Jakes states that he makes sure that he completes something related to every task he has to do. He doesn’t focus all of his energies on one task in his professional life. He always makes time to for what is important in his personal life. At the end of the day, he is not as stressed about an overwhelming to-do list because he is prioritizing what is important and making progress on each project.
Leaders in different stages of their careers, whether novice or seasoned, have to come up with strategies for prioritizing their professional and personal lives.
A Thought for Reflection
“Leaders give, encourage, mentor and model the behaviors they desire.” ~Barbara Tolliver-Haskins
Leaders assign different tasks to their employees. They expect them to be able to multitask and decide what needs their immediate attention. If employees fail to meet a deadline, then they will meet with them and discuss ways to their improve work performance. Leaders must set the tone for prioritizing work responsibilities by being a role model for their employees. It is important for them to self-assess how they are handling their time so that the right example is set.
How can you better prioritize your professional and personal life?
One way you can answer this question is to conduct a priority snapshot. Think about your current schedule and tasks. How do you manage your time? Make a list of everything you have done in the past week. Include activities from your personal and professional life. Once you have composed your list, go through each item and label it as personal or professional. What do you notice?
There may be an imbalance between personal and professional tasks. You may also realize that one particular task is monopolizing all of your time. Now think about what is working.
Where are you now? What do you like most about it? Capture it so that you don’t misplace it. Devise a plan to decide what is important and find your balance.
Navigating the Course to the Next Principle.
Leaders realize that they must use their time wisely and prioritize in order to set the trend in their companies. They have to focus their attention on what is important and ignore any distractions. Leaders know that their employees look up to them to maintain that same focus with a sense of integrity, hope and resilience during tough and turbulent times.
The next principle will cover how leaders must have courage and create an environment that thrives on clarity and understanding.
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