Read the 5 sentences below. If any sound familiar – this post is for you!
- You cringe when the fourth person in an hour shows up and asks, “Hey, you got second?”
- You’re often late to meetings and/or scrambling at the last minute to prepare your deliverables.
- 4:00 pm arrives and you’ve yet to get to “your work.”
- Day after day are spent solving problems for others – you wonder if anyone can think!
- Everyone wants a piece of you – you are spread like peanut butter at work and at home.
Still reading? Then you can relate. Me too.
I’ve seen many people wrestle with time. You might regularly struggle to separate the “urgent” from the “important.”
You and I are not unique – many feel there is simply not enough time in the day. Unfortunately, 24 hours is all you get – that’s all any of us get. What I want you to see is that you are making the choices that create this dynamic.
It might be nice to feel like a victim (instead of the cause), but that is simply not the case.
You “feel” trapped, but the choices you make have created a cycle. The good news is that cycles are made to be broken!
Let’s look at how it works:
- You (and/or your area) get overwhelmed, behind, have problems, etc.
- You kick it in to high gear to get back on track.
- To do so, you direct your staff, make decisions, drive action, check on results and personally ensure everything is done.
- Your efforts make a difference – that situation slowly gets under control.
- In the meantime, while you are being “Superman” to get out of that crisis, a different crisis has formed.
- You quickly turn your attention on the newest crisis.
- Steps 2 thru 6 repeat.
That’s the cycle.
That’s what has you limping to every Friday wondering why the hell you do this week after week!
The cycle has to stop. If it doesn’t break – you will.
- Break the default: Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. The 1st step to breaking the cycle is to not enter it! When the crisis pops up – resist the habit of diving in. Stay at a higher altitude and survey alternative options.
- Develop other Super Hero’s: If you are the only Superman, the citizens of Gotham will always call you! Make it a regular part of your routine to train your staff to handle issues. Trial by fire is a great teacher if you give them a chance.
- Deal with “C” and “D” Players: Many a crisis is started because someone didn’t do his/her job. While mistakes happen, when they become a trend you must deal with it. If you allow underperformers to wander freely – chronic problems will abound. Check out the book Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers for some great ideas.
- Say No: Learning to establish boundaries and say no is a fundamental skill for any Deliberate Journey. If you have no “white space” in your life – you will not make the best choices. Saying No can build the white space such that you can make better choices for your time. Start practicing.
Time (or the lack there of) will always be a challenge. While crisis will always occur, how you deal with them is in your court.
If you believe you are a victim of time, you’ll feel stuck in the cycle for years to come.
You need to appreciate that you are making many of the choices that create and maintain the cycle. Accepting you have ownership is very empowering. Take a deliberate look at how you choose to act and how you deploy time. Start small and keep building.
I challenge you to say “No” once today. Furthermore, I challenge you to pick one “potential superhero” and start to develop him or her. Hand them and mini-crisis and watch what they do.
So what are you going to say No to today? Tell me about it in the comments.