I sometimes describe the calendar and the competing demands we face as a dragon that must be slain every day. On the days we prevail our influence increases. But the truth is, despite our best efforts, some days the dragon wins. Fortunately for us and those we lead, we have the opportunity to start fresh every day… but so does the dragon.
Few things in life have greater power than the calendar. For leaders, it drives where we go, how long we stay, where we invest our time and energy and it even dictates what we will not do. The calendar also confirms our real priorities, documents our weaknesses and magnifies our values.
[tweet_box design="box_16_at" author="@LeadersServe"]Time is a leader’s primary currency… and it has a finite supply![/tweet_box]
The calendar is merely the agent of our time, therefore to harness the power of the calendar we must create a plan of attack to protect and steward our time. Time is a leader’s primary currency… and it has a finite supply! It is the scarcity that makes it so precious. Every step of progress with our calendar pushes us towards greater levels of mastery in our life.
This post is not intended to reveal a specific insight or revelation on this topic. My intent here today is to surface, not to solve, what may be the core issue impeding your leadership effectiveness.
Here are a few ideas to jump start your thinking on how to harness the irrational power of the calendar.
Embrace your reality – Most of us do not use our time the way we think we do - and I can prove it. Write down the number of hours you think you invest in the following activities over the course of a week:
- Personal (eating, grooming, hygiene)
- Faith (worship/prayer/study)
- Work (including your commute)
Now, keep a time log for two weeks in 15-minute increments. Compare your actual results to your hypothesis. If you are not surprised, I will be. Every time I do this activity I learn something.
Establish your priorities – This is easy for most leaders. If asked, you can probably rattle off your top three or four priorities – in life and at work. If you’ve completed the activity above, how did your priorities stack up? Are you walking the talk?
Schedule your priorities – This is where the power of the calendar comes to life. If our priorities are not reflected in our daily schedules, it is hard to say with any credibility that they are really our priorities. I know we all have more to do than we can possibly accomplish in our lifetime. Therefore, we must do as Stephen Covey advocated for years, we must “put the big rocks in first.”
Grow your capacity – This is the ultimate win when it comes to our calendars. We can’t add hours or days but we can grow our individual and organizational capacity. The bottom line: the best leaders are always growing their capacity. How are you doing on this? If we fail this leadership test, our calendar will become our captor.
Leaders are called upon to do many, many things. I’ve written hundreds of posts on the strategic and tactical demands incumbent with the role. In the face of all this, you may be wondering how it’s even possible to lead well. The key resides in your calendar.