How do you climb a tall ladder?
One rung at a time.
And yet we forget to apply that principle to the bigger and more challenging – dare we say “daunting”? – tasks and goals.
Changing culture, implementing a new process or system, and pivoting to a new business model all seem monumental. But they get completed in small steps over time that build to the bigger accomplishment once all the groundwork has been laid.
Taking the time to improve through self-development, learning a new skill, or creating habits beneficial to yourself and others all are the result of consistent incremental efforts, occurring over time.
When you feel the urge to say “I don’t have time,” consider what 2 extra minutes of focused incremental efforts might create.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you have ever gotten to the end of a week or even a day without accomplishing everything on your “to-do” list, then welcome to the club.
For many leaders, having tasks uncompleted can create a sense of failure in how productive we have been. Other tasks creep in each day throughout the week, claim a sense of immediacy or urgency and then take priority of our time. As a result, we feel like we’ve fallen short of our goals, and overwhelmed as well.
Years ago I started to change my productivity methods and came up with a more productive system. I would write what I wanted to accomplish, then make time on my calendar for the week for those items.
It was a great unlock for me and enabled me to feel more in control of my time and goals.
Over the weekend I discovered this article from The Next Web that supported the method I had adopted a while back, which prompted me to share this in more detail.
Each weekend I write down a few goals or tasks in each area of my life. I do this to spread myself around and touch each area of my life (spiritual, social, career, health, etc) and create more balance overall.
I only set a few tasks in each area as I know I can only accomplish so much. Doing this will give you the ability to see that you accomplished most if not all of your tasks and a greater feeling of satisfaction and control over your life and work.
Then I schedule those tasks to the days I want to spend time on them. Based on my workflow, I have set aside days to focus more on certain areas. For example, Thursdays typically tend to be time connecting with others, while Mondays are geared more towards extra work, Wednesdays financial planning, and so on.
For tasks like exercise and learning, I set consistent time daily to make those happen and guard against “time robbers” that will interrupt those and push them aside rather easily.
Once a schedule like this is complete, you will acquire a sense of planing and purpose far beyond the typical to-do list method.
And while legitimate urgencies will occur from time to time, this method will help keep you on track should a plan go awry. Which will happen occasionally.
One thing to keep in mind is being overly regimented and not allowing some flexibility in this process. Some items may take longer for various reasons. It’s also perfectly acceptable to block out portions of a day for catching up on emails, resting, or even to allow for creative thinking.
The main goal in this method is to help accomplish more and give yourself better control over the events that impact your days and weeks.
If you have struggled with feelings of being unproductive and having a lack of control on your days and weeks, try this method out. It is proving to be a better method over the to-do list.
A pastor that fails to hear a spouse’s claim of abuse because they can’t look past the relative good that the person always does.
A boss favoring the sales team because that’s where they think is the most important position.
Keeping a certain client on board because they represent a lot of revenue, although they bully the front line employees.
Allowing an employee’s toxic behavior because they have been loyal to the company for so many years,
When leaders coddle others, they don’t realize the harm they do to the rest of the team.
A ministry ceases to be effective and marriages fail because of coddling a favored parishioner.
Other team members of supporting divisions feel like second class citizens, a cog to the whims of the big dollar makers.
Sending a message that all that matters is money, and not people, because boundaries can’t be drawn against abusive customers.
Team members losing faith in the leader’s credibility, and eventually leaving, because they don’t have that long-term relationship with the boss that goes years back.
Coddling equals bias equals poor leadership. When you tolerate bad behavior, you accept the consequences of splash-back on your organization.