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Do you have too much to do at the moment?

Currently I have 24 professionals completing reflective workbooks each week as part of their “Stepping Into Leadership” programme. It’s a new and explicit role as learner for them needing extra time in their diary, and needs to be planned in.

Priorities are important. You may recall a previous blog of mine to help with this, “What Are Your Big Rocks”, where I talked about:

  • Knowing Your Purpose
  • Determining Your Priorities (Big Rocks)
  • The Urgent/Important Matrix, and role of Quadrant 2.

My learners are up for their leadership programme, but it is a significant adjustment as it fits in with their already busy diaries.

Diary planning is not always easy though, is it.

So many of us in the workplace are already operating on 100% and when something new comes along, we can be unsure what to do.

What can help us here?

When I first got to know about “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey over two decades ago, I was drawn to another of his books too, “First Things First”.

I found it really useful, and weekly planning by each of our roles is something I still do, even if I have now streamlined my approach. Sometimes I look a longer timescale too, for example, three months.

What does this mean in practical terms for me?

Yes , like lots of people I keep a brain dump, a “To Do” list, This includes the millions of things that occur to me when I’m driving, or pop into my head first thing when I wake up and so on. It’s like a stream of consciousness.

But this does not sort out the large things from the small, the priorities (big rocks). These are the things where if I start the first step now, something valuable will happen, for example in a month’s time.

What I have learnt to do is this:

  1. First to write down each of my roles: for example, consultant, coach, business developer, learner, parent, partner, family member, friend and protector of my health
  2. Then to look at my diary – nowadays Outlook – to see what is in my week already
  3. Next to check there is an action or activity against each of my key roles. Sometimes the activity already in my diary is a Quadrant 1 action i.e. something important and with a known deadline, and this is OK
  4. If there is nothing in my diary for a key role, to think about what it could be or should be and create (if need be a very small) next step. Otherwise I know nothing would happen.
  5. Sometimes to make an artificial deadline for a Quadrant 2 activity or role to guarantee the ball gets rolling.

With these steps, and with this approach, I put myself in the driving seat.

Looking back now, I can see numerous good things have happened in my life which otherwise would never have got to the top of the queue:

  • My love of walking and walking holidays, which add so much to my wellbeing
  • Some of my work and travel opportunities abroad, which mean so much to me
  • Taking care of my health in a way which works for me.

Quadrant 2 has enabled these things to happen.

Could this approach work for you?

Coming back to my 24 learners. Taking themselves seriously to develop as leaders is going to make a huge difference to their future careers. They are smashing it!

How could you to prioritise the things important to you, with an approach, a discipline, an awareness, that helps move you to action? Things your future self will thank you for?

If you would like to talk more about this, get in touch.

Join our EDI book club: This month we will be  looking at how women’s voices are heard differently from mens’ from reading “The Authority Gap“.

All are welcome! If you would like to join us, get in touch, and Gill will send you the zoom link!

Date and Time: Friday 26th May at 12.30pm BST (GMT+1)

Gill How loves to work internationally with managers, executives and professionals to help them to evolve, stretch and grow their leadership capability. She is a Master Executive Coach, innovative Leadership Developer and harbours some significant walking goals! If she can help you in developing the potential of the professionals in your organisation, get in touch!

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Photo Credits: Pexels, Martin and Gill How

Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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