3 Tips for the Overworked Leader

This is a post I almost didn’t write. I was too busy – and to tell you the truth, I’ve struggled with managing my workload most of my career.

Many of my issues with being overworked have been of my own creation, so I can’t really blame my organization. As I’ve thought about it, several factors contribute to my struggles...

I have a personality that contributes to my desire to work. I’m not complaining or  deflecting, I’m just acknowledging my wiring - Type A.

I want to be perceived as a guy who can get it done. I probably need to see a therapist to fully understand this. I’m guessing it has roots in self-esteem issues.

I love to work – you may too. Particularly if you are doing work you love for an organization you love.

There are probably other reasons but that’s not the real point of this post. I’ve come to realize a totally counterintuitive truth: the less you do, the more you accomplish. So, for almost a decade, I’ve been trying to be more effective by doing less. Let me quickly add that on any given day or during any given season, I fail miserably. When this happens, my impact decreases.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to create appropriate mechanisms to better manage my workload. This is a never-ending quest for me, so I’ll write more about it in the future. While I continue to work on the issue of being overworked, here are 3 ideas that are helping me today.
Track your time – This is not a new idea. Peter Drucker advocated this almost 50 years ago! Keep up with all your activities during your waking hours for at least two weeks. Drucker suggested, as leaders, we should do this every 6 months. You may be shocked where you actually invest your time.
Eliminate those activities that are low impact – Clearly, we don’t have complete discretion on this. However, you’ll probably be surprised how many things you do in two weeks that really don’t add value. Drucker believed that virtually any leader could eliminate 25% of their current activities with no consequences!
Schedule a self-leadership day – at least once a month – One of the best things I can do as a leader is to periodically step away from the fray, regain perspective, and then re-engage. During this time, evaluate the last 30 days by asking questions such as: What worked? What didn’t? What did I learn? Prepare for the next 30 days: What are my priorities? What MUST be done? What could be deferred?
Managing your workload will be a key factor in your success and mine as leaders. If we don’t get a handle on this, our impact, our influence, our relationships and our quality of life will surely suffer. Good luck![GLS_Shield]
I’d love to hear from you on this. What strategies and tactics help you manage your workload?


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