You all know that I am a bit of a time management nut and always harping on about the fact that your commitment is not real unless it is scheduled to be done at a particular time.
So why am I talking about having empty spaces in your schedule?
Well, let me be honest upfront! This concept of empty space is something that I have struggled with but I really do make a huge effort to implement this – perhaps not as much as I would like – but I certainly get to it at least 2/3 days each week.
The difference in the weeks that I do this well from those I don’t, I find quite remarkable. The weeks I don’t do it well I feel like I am chasing the week and it is in control of me rather than the other way around.
The weeks I do it well, I feel I am driving the week and that I am “on” my business.
I first learned this many years ago when I was a senior executive in the corporate world where the culture can be one of back to back meetings – so inefficient!
It was almost a badge of honor to spend your life rushing from one to the next! There was almost a suggestion that this sort of mania was a sign that you were important – and, by definition, if you weren’t in this constant whirlwind you were being marginalized, and not at the center of everything that mattered!
What does this sort of frenzy produce? Only burnout and inefficiency.
You seem to be a leader in your business – and it does not matter what size your business is, you still need to be a leader! – there are 2 things you must do:
- Coach others to solve problems, and
- Be a strategic thinker and developer.
Now, you simply cannot do either if you are always rushing around from meeting to meeting. Neither can you do it if you are always in “implementation” mode.
Let me elaborate on this.
- When running a business we always feel that we need to be the problem solvers, so we spend our time going around putting out fires. You see, we have lots of experience and dealt with loads of issues over the years – so we know the answers!! Right? Of course, that is right!!
- So, what happens? All the problems get brought to you – the great problem solver!! Before you know it all the problems are on your desk. What about your people? Well, they know that you solve all the problems so you get them all.
- So, to stop being the bottleneck and to start empowering your people you need time to coach and develop your people so that they can become the problem solvers. You also need to coach them so that they can coach their own people to do just the same.
- You cannot do this is if you are charging form one meeting to another – you need time to reflect, think and plan your coaching. You see coaching is not one size fits all – it is different for each person. A different approach, different way of convincing, a different way of learning. This you cannot do “on the hoof”.
So, this alone is a compelling reason for having empty space in your schedule to do this well. You, your people and your business will benefit hugely.
2. As a leader of your business, you must carve out time to be a strategic thinker. You simply cannot be in execution mode all the time. Of course, there are times for execution but making this your default way of working is akin to the proverbial hamster in the wheel – very busy but not really going anywhere!
- You need to spend time reflecting on where your business will be in 2/3 years time, what business you are in, if the assumptions you made when creating your plans are still valid. You must have quality time out to reflect on these issues.
- You need time to investigate other opportunities, perhaps doing some research or meeting people who can inform your thinking..
- Failure to carve out this time results in you being in reactionary mode all the time – and that is a definite kiss of death to any business.
- Having that empty space in your schedule will gift you that time.
If I were to suggest a productivity tool that you could go and buy today, and attached a link here to get you there really fast, I am pretty confident you would go and buy it. True?
So, here it is – and it is free! Just carve out some empty space in your schedule, and become really productive!
Try it – and let me know how you get on.