We are creatures of habit for a good reason. Habits and routines make us much more effective. The actions we do become automatic, and we spend less time deciding whether we want to do them. These routines, however, can become constraining, and sometimes the time comes to change them or allow for more flexibility.
Category: Productivity Tools
Routines are potent mechanisms in our daily life that help us achieve more. They create structure in our days to help us deal with the complexity of everyday life. By having time and spaces designated for various activities, our tasks become automatic and allow us to do more.
The concept of gathering all to-dos and having a dependable system to reduce stress is invaluable. Just this part alone has changed how I manage my tasks and helped me significantly increase my productivity.
Try the Eisenhower Matrix to organize your to-do list, and you will start working on your priorities. You will feel like you are gaining ground on what is most important for you.
In his book, The Executive’s Compass: Business and the Good Society (public library), James O’Toole describes the use of a compass with the ideas of liberty (North) and equality (South) on the vertical axis and efficiency (East) and community (West) on the horizontal axis. These poles, notably the liberty-equality continuum, represent tradeoffs we must make as we search for the ideal society. I read about the tension between the idea of full liberty and full equality, but I had never
As managers, much of our daily work is problem-solving – going from one issue to the next and resolving each one. We need to approve transactions or discuss with others how to proceed with a question. This type of work requires being able to solve one task at a time and think on our feet. It may also require building consensus and teamwork. It is dynamic work and is full of activity.
There are other times, though, when we need to do a more intense kind of work. Sometimes we must do a deep-dive and research a new topic. We may have to think through an entrenched problem or start and engage with a challenging project that requires concentrated attention. Here, a different type of performance is necessary: one in which we take the time to immerse ourselves in an issue and think through it.
Life happens every day. Over time, we will experience a bit of everything – good, bad, great, sad, and sometimes, like the recent crisis we are living through, catastrophic. Our work life is no different. With the ups come the downs: in typical times, a great team player may leave the company, or perhaps a loan does not come through. It can be very frustrating and sometimes scary.
Growth is not linear; it is all over the place. To be able to work with the uncertainty, I’ve found that as leaders, we must develop resilience. If we are not feeling well ourselves, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to lead.