As business leaders, we seem to be living under constant pressure. Our to do lists never seem to end. My inbox is overflowing… I am behind on that sales target… I missed 17 phone calls this morning… I really need to be updating our social media page… I need to get round to doing that performance review. I am sure you get the drift: The list just never ends…
The reality is in business, no matter your position, there always seem to be more to do. We never quite finish scoring everything off the list and this can leave us feeling overwhelmed leading to a lack of productivity and energy. 75% of companies are struggling with overwhelmed teams and employees.
We think the answer is more time. If only there were more hours in a day, I could get everything done… Our teams could be more efficient…we could launch into this product…we could open a new market. However studies have shown that more time doesn’t equate to greater productivity. Working those extra hours might mean you are in the office more, but does it mean you are getting better results? What if the answer was found in maximising the time you have? Looking less at how many hours you are working but thinking are my hours adding value to the organisation? You can count the hours but have you contributed to something significant and meaningful? Thinking less about how can I move these emails out of my inbox and more how am I moving the business forward?
Here are some thoughts for business owners and leaders to help maximise the time you have. We believe these can help you drive your business forward but also help you avoid burnout.
What do I need to STOP doing?
We are creatures of habit. If we have been in the organisation for a long time, there will be things we do on a regularly basis, that we really don’t need be doing anymore. Is that weekly meeting you are having really adding value to you and your team? Is that report that takes two hours to produce, really being utilised? Don’t just eliminate things you don’t like doing, eliminate things that don’t contribute to the organisation. What was right 5 years ago, doesn’t mean it is right today.
What can I SLIDE onto someone’s else desk?
If we have team around us, then it could be possible to slide a task onto someone’s else desks. As owners, we can like our control and preference. But to grow, you must release control. The principle of delegation is said to be if someone can do it 80% as well as you can, delegate. Taking time to train them could open up more time in the future for you. What can you remove from your desk so that you focus on what will drive the business forward? It needs you working on the right things otherwise it will not enter into the future.
What do I need to STICK at?
Procrastination is a thief of time. We sit down to do a specific task, and then two minutes later we have somehow found ourselves on our social media account or having a meaningless conversation with a work colleague. To maximise your time, eliminate procrastination and stick to the task at hand. When you have set your priorities for the day, guard those tasks. Yes, urgent and unexpected situations come up, but be honest, does it need to be done right now?
What do I need to SHELVE?
As business leaders, our minds can be always thinking. It can be difficult to switch off. We do have limited capacity and time therefore we must decide what is for today and what is for the future. Even though they are good ideas, you might have to put them on the shelf to pickup next week or even next year. Revisit them another day.
When can I be STILL?
You may be thinking, we are in business, are you mad?!? We can never be still! Taking lunch breaks or even a coffee break at work is increasingly become a rare practice in the workplace. A recent study showed only one in five in the UK still take a traditional hour lunch break. We are eating over our keyboards and are constantly looking at our devices. Our bodies and minds struggle to breathe. No wonder we feel overwhelmed. We feel we can’t afford to take a break but we can’t afford not to. For the sake of your physical and mental wellbeing, take time to be still during the day. Research shows that even short breaks are a proven way to improve concentration levels and creativity. Stillness leads to movement. Stopping to reset causes greater productivity. Therefore for your own sake and for the sake of your business, take a break. Be still for a moment.
STOP. SLIDE. STICK. SHELVE. STILL