What did I learn this week? I ask myself this question at the end of every week and then turn my attention to the details of the week ahead. It’s a habit I practice and document in my playbook.

While recording a podcast with Ryan Hawk, the host of The Learning Leader Show, we connected. Especially on one specific topic. Helping leaders get better. Since we both work with leaders, we are very interested in how they navigate time and priorities.

We advise leaders in the ways of mastering their schedules and priorities yet some respond by saying “You don’t get it”. What they mean to say is that we don’t understand the demands and unpredictable nature of corporate America. That’s just not true. Here’s the truth: If we continue to live hectic, reactive lives, we will get worse. Over just a few months, neglecting the important things will result in less skill, maturity, learning, and health.

Many, I should say most, leaders struggle living in the world of Tyranny of the Urgent (Quadrant I – Important and Urgent). The problem with living in Q1 is voices, noise, confusion, deadlines, demands, interruptions, stress, and adrenaline. When we live in Q1 over a period of time, we lose our ability to differentiate urgent from non-urgent and important from not-important.   

Leaders MUST live out of Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent. This is where planning, evaluating, relating, thinking, exercising, resting, laughing, and projects live. When we block time for these activities, our health overflows into the real Q1 of important and urgent tasks. They do not feel overwhelming because we are performing out of abundance instead of what’s left, which isn’t much.

When you decide to stop living a crazy pace, start with blocking time to ask and answer the following questions:

  1. What should I stop doing?
  2. What should I start doing?
  3. What should I continue doing?

That’s a good place to begin.


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