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It's been a busy time of it of late balancing commitments at work and at home. Between on-boarding some really exciting new clients, working with our existing clients on some really interesting challenges, of course the obligatory paperwork elements and developing a great new Lean Administration workshop as well it's all go. Then of course there is the need to balance that off with family life and making time to be with them and try to keep up with my 9-year-old daughters' social life and keeping up with the DIY list.
I'm sure this list of things to balance off doesn't sound too different from your own list, in fact your list may well be longer than that (truth be told I am certain I have missed a lot off just for brevity… honest!) So the question is, how do you get it all done and not run yourself into the ground or mess things up?
Multitasking!...that's what you should do, get as many plates spinning as you can, juggle as many balls in the air and hope nothing falls over. Nothing ever bad happens when you tried to do too many things at once, Multitasking is a fallacy, it's not real! So no, that's not the answer, it's part of the problem. Your brain isn't wired to multitask, and you will actually reduce your effectiveness by around 25% if you try to do two things at once and trust me, trying to write a report while playing netball with your 9 year old daughter ends in tears, usually mine when I miss catching the ball.
Let me introduce you to MonoTasking!
Monotasking is a dumb way of saying just do one thing at a time!... but have a plan, yep stop what you are doing and take some time, maybe 20 or 30 minutes to just think about what all you must get done this week, this month. Include everything, work & family and don't forget about a little time for yourself to help recharge those resilience muscles. Once you have done that think about the things you would like to get done but it doesn't matter if they happen this week or the next, add them to your list (I add them in a different colour, so I know what is important now and what has some slack time linked to it).Now just pick the most important thing and get it done. Don't procrastinate, don't over think it just get it done.
Know when to take a break
There are times when you will be sitting there staring at the screen or the wall or out the window and suddenly realise that for the last 5 or 15 or 30 minutes you haven't done anything, and your head is just empty, then again that could just be me. You have hit the point where it is time for a break, it may be only a 10 minute break to go take a walk outside in the fresh air and the sunshine or it may be time to actually take a few days off and empty your head, again think about those resilience muscles, if they are over fatigued your chances of bouncing back quickly are massively reduced so make some time.
Know when to put everything to the side & focus on you & others
As much as you want to get things done, a report finished, a quotation sent out there are times when you know the right thing to do is stop, switch off and be with others. For me, I know if I'm staring at the screen and my 9-year-old comes looking for a netballer to play with or my dog is looking for his walk then it's time to down tools and go do something else. Everything is still there when I'm finished playing or walking the dog but somehow, it's faster to finish than it seemed before.
As a leader it's important that you make time to be with your team and to get to know them, get to know how they tick. What gets them excited and what gets them demotivated and what are their tells when they are just worn out, stressed or pushing it just that little bit too far. That's the time when you, as a leader, really earn your stripes. Step in, tell them what you see and your concerns for them and make them take the time to go play netball with their daughter, walk their dog, dust their bike off and go for a blast round the cycle park or just lay in the beach. You will both be glad you did.
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