Whether we are an organizational leader or team member there is a very telling tool about our priorities and what is really important to us. It is not what we say. It is not what we communicate to our teams or one another. It is not the mission or priorities of our organization.
It is our calendar.
Nancy Ortberg in her book, Unleashing the Power of Rubber bands: Lessons in non-linear Leadership writes something that is all too true: "There is often an enormous disconnect between the vision of an organization and the events that make up the daily calendar pages of the organization's leaders."
Don't get me wrong. There is always great activity on a calendar. But the focus of that activity for too many does not match up with the vision or mission of the organization or the stated priorities of leaders (or team members). All of us can easily fall into the trap of mistaking activity for the results we say we are committed to.
I have only five priorities - Key Result Areas (KRA's). The are:
- Personal development
- Strategic leadership
- Strong team
- Leadership development
- Mobilizing resources
Those are the big rocks of my work. Given those priorities, the proof of whether those are in reality my priorities is whether my calendar reflects those priorities. Do the majority of my appointments, obligations, and time allocations reflect those five areas, or does my calendar actually reflect a scattered and accidental approach to my work. The calendar tells the story!
If you are committed to a life of intentionality I would challenge you to identify the big rocks of your work and then compare the obligations of your calendar with your priorities. Do they line up? Are you intentional in scheduling your priorities? Can you say no to those things that distract from what you are called to do? Are you willing for your colleagues to see your calendar? Would they say it reflects your big rocks?
Our calendars tell the story of our true priorities. And they are a powerful tool in ensuring that we achieve those priorities when we allocate our limited resource of time according to those things that we know are most important.