Leaders used to have 9 key things on their To Do list and they could devise relatively simple systems to help prioritize their tasks. Now, we have at least 99 things on our To Do list, and many more that we’ve forgotten about.
The squeaky wheel gets the Leader's attention
We tend to react, simply to the item that is screaming the loudest or doing the best “you need to pay attention to me now” dance. Alternately, we turn to the one that will require the least brain power because we are numb from all that is required of us. That would likely be sifting through the same inbox again and again for an hour.
This way is killing you
None of these methods work. You know that! You know because you’ve done them for a while and you still feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. You are not getting to the really meaningful things you want to be working on.
The only way to do the work that matters is to do it.
I’ve learned over the past few years that the only way I am going to do the things that really matter, is if I do them. It’s that simple. They will not magically get done in the wee hours of the morning. There is no Rumpelstilskin in my office. They won't get done in between meetings that someone else thinks I should attend. They get done, when I put them in the top priority spot of my To Do list.
Try a new way to prioritze
The way to place meaningful work at the top is to identify what really matters by asking yourself these 3 questions when you prioritize your daily tasks.
#1 - What will bring our team closer to meeting our purpose or vision?
What is the real reason you are working on things? It isn’t about a report, a meeting or a task. Stop and think about why you do the work you do. It’s about people isn’t it? It is about real live humans that have a need. You know how to help them. The problem is that their needs get pushed back with all the administrative tasks. Get clear on what you need to do to meet the real needs of the people you serve.
#2 - What will grow our team stronger?
Running scattered this way and that will surely make it feel like you don’t have time for your employees. They will feel unimportant and separated from you. Yet, you know that a cohesive team is what gets teams through the tough times. Strong teams excel at excellent work. If you instead consider them and their need, and determine perhaps how their needs can fit with your needs you might find ways to grow together. Just like cooking or working-out with your kids close by when they are young, having your staff member actually help you with a report will not only have them develop their skills, but it will develop your relationship with them. Working together on things, rather than divide you, will grow your team stronger.
#3 - What will grow me?
The best Leaders focus on growth for themselves constantly. They read. They reflect. They take training. They involve themselves in conversations that stretch the way they think and encourage them to see things from different perspectives. But this requires time. You must schedule time to read. You must schedule time to be coached, have coffee with your mentor or attend a networking session. Do it. Make it happen.
Push the meaningful work to the top of the list
Separate the real work, the meaningful work from the task and administrative duties that blur your vision. Move them to the top of your priority list. In doing so, you will find you enjoy your job a whole lot more because you will be doing what matters most.
Watch for more inspiration about how to make the meaningful work hit the top of your list
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