Most leaders are over-committed and run with very little margin. We say yes too often, no too seldom and don't evaluate our commitments against our true calling and purpose.
The net effect is that many of the most important things don't get done on time or well. We are too busy working in our business (and pleasing others) and don't have time to work on our business. There is not time to reflect, think clearly and allow our minds to roam freely where creativity flourishes.
Ironically, we are so busy leading that we often don't lead nearly as well as we should. The key term here is busy. That busyness depletes our minds, energy and spirits. And, it keeps us from leading well. Many leaders don't even have time to go on vacation!
It need not be this way. There is a practice that can bring life to your spirit, renewed energy to your calling and set you apart from other leaders who are caught in the leadership treadmill.
Most leaders will say they cannot afford the time to commit to this practice. However, if we cleared our calendars of all the things that were not truly mission critical or focused on what we need to do as leaders, we would have time for this practice. And that is simply a matter of discipline!
What is the practice I am referring to? It is to take one hour a day focused solely on your own development, thinking time, blue sky time and personal development. That is about one tenth of the hours most leaders work each day. Think of it as a tithe on your time. This has always been critical but it is even more critical in the post Covid world where all the rules have changed and it is going to take the best of our thinking to move our organizations forward.
Use this time to:
- Evaluate all your commitments (before you agree to them) and ruthlessly eliminate any that don't fit directly in your leadership purpose (that one discipline will save you many hours a month)
- Think strategically about your leadership, looking for how you can focus your efforts in the most important areas and how your team can develop a laser like focus around their purpose and work.
- Study the changing marketplace or ministry space you are in to understanding changing dynamics and trends. Better to be on the front of the wave than on the backside.
- Think deeply about what could give your organization or team greater momentum toward its mission. Not all strategies are equal but only those who think deeply will figure that out.
- Read widely. Often our greatest insights come from those who are not in our work space but one crucial insight can change everything for you.
- Evaluate your staff and how they are doing. What do they need from you and how can you increase their effectiveness.
All of these items and there are many more that could be added are about working on the business and on yourself so that the business or ministry you lead can go to the next level. Ironically, you will find margin for yourself as you evaluate your own commitments, will lead better and more wisely and ensure that the investment you are making in your leadership role is the very best it can be.
It is a matter of continual focus!