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One Smart Leadership Move


Does your typical workday fly faster than the USS Enterprise zooming at warp speed? Be honest, what one thing did you accomplish today that made a positive impact on those around you?

Many up-and-coming leaders find their days filled with a flurry of activity, and yet accomplish little. For them, the line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth takes on new meaning.

Life is a story told by an idiot, full of noise and emotional disturbance but devoid of meaning.

When time moves faster than your ability to produce the choice then becomes between lessening your output or lowering your quality. If you are like me, neither of those choices are an option. Before you panic, trust me, there are ways to avoid this – you can master life’s busyness by understanding the power behind the effective management of your time.

While there are many advantages of being connected 24 hours a day 7 days a week; we must learn to silence them to focus on our most important projects. You know, the ones that move the needle of success. Things like email bings, tones and vibrations can drain your focus in an instant causing negative interruptions for nothing more than finding out the latest headline on Fox News. (Trust me – No news report is worth your entire days productivity.)

I have yet to meet a true time ninja who can stop time, and avoid distractions by wearing black and sneaking around corners. I am however actively engaged helping myself and others learn the key to overcoming distraction and getting more productive. Taking the first step to freedom may be easier than you think.

One Smart Leadership Move

Managing your inbox or wrestling an alligator – you can pick. Do you ever find yourself being managed by your inbox? Your day moves by task by task, request by request..until you accomplish everyone else’s agenda and yet forget your own? This is what I refer to as wrestling the email alligator.

By the way, the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London suggests that your IQ falls 10 points when you’re fielding constant emails, text messages and calls. This is the same loss you’d experience if you had missed an entire night’s sleep. (Yoga Journal, p. 22, 12/2005).

Equally important is the fact that, at work, distractions are costing the US economy $588 billion per year. (2009, Basex)

While I wish I could suggest that you shut your cell phone or inbox off forever and focus, you probably realize that not having email is a poor option. However, are you the type who has an open window for your inbox at all times? If so, stop it.

While it’s important to keep current on your email – that pesky talent draining inbox can rule your day. Your email can become your daily general. Commanding your time and directing your efforts. This should be avoided for obvious reasons. Do you really want “that person” directing your day?

The solution may be to set an email recovery schedule that is created around your most productive moments. Give your most important projects attention during your most productive part of the day. I am most creative and coherent in the morning. I like to do my technical and creative writing then. For me, killing my morning emails is scary, I serve demanding clients. However, focusing on important ideas first, and then paying attention to the boings and buzzes of the world – allow my personal effectiveness to increase while helping me move strategic projects forward.

Imagine what a difference it would make to your career if you could cut the number of daily interruptions in half. Imagine what a difference it could make to our national economy if we all did it. In my opinion now is the time to help each other reduce interruptions, and better manage our time.

What One Smart move do you make to be a more productive leader? Please share in the comment section, and together, let’s make a difference.
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  1. jim Abraham
    jim Abraham08-10-2015

    I get up early every morning and start my day with the creator of all things. I read His word and pray for opportunities to bless those I meet. I also pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Three things in short supply in my life and in the world today.

    Jim Abraham

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia08-16-2015

      Jim, I appreciate what you are saying, and try to spend my waking hours the same way. What I have found is that this amazingly important spiritual time also comes under the same attack of distractions in my life. Perhaps this time with God is the first place we must make a distraction-free zone in our life? You know, build a special boundary to connect, learn and grow. Thanks for your thoughts – as your friend I would describe you as wise, knowledgable and full of understanding…

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