One of our partners sent me this picture of his deck during the blizzard last week in Washington, D.C., where they got over 30 inches of snow in a little more than 24 hours. At one point, he sent a short video and it was snowing so hard you could barely see beyond his deck.
He was anticipating a big snow fall so he started shoveling snow early on, hoping he could stay ahead of it. He really wanted to be able to get the cars out if and when they needed them. But the snow was relentless and never let up and feeling overwhelmed, he lost his focus on keeping ahead. I immediately related to this feeling of being overwhelmed, although our weather had been simply cold and windy. You see, I was feeling overwhelmed at work. I must admit, this week does have more than the “normal” schedule, but the truth is, regardless of the week, I find myself allowing my day or week to become a blizzard.
With the speed of change and so many important things to do, so many choices, so many demands from team members and clients and so many distractions, it is easy for me to get caught in the blizzard, unable able to see through the clutter. It seems to be coming at record pace and taking me off course too often. So, here are a few tips for leaders in business that I have learned that help me to keep my snow shoveled and manage my time.
Prioritize – Identify the top two or three things that must get done. Decide what is number one and break it into smaller steps. Immediately take action to start accomplishing step one.
Focus – Schedule periods of uninterrupted time to focus on top priorities. Put it on the calendar and communicate it to the team.
No – Learn to say no. We can’t do everything and we can’t be everything to everybody. Practice saying no to things that will not keep you on course to accomplish your highest priority. And be clear about the no; do not leave any doubt that could lead someone to think it’s a maybe.
Delegate – There are always things that if delegated, free us up to have focused time on the highest priority.
Reflect – I have found that if I have daily checkups with myself, I am more accountable.
Believe – We can always do more than we think. We need to believe in ourselves more. When I have positive thoughts about my day, I am more successful and confident.
I hope these six tips help you stay focused during an everyday blizzard, as they have helped me dig out many times. Looking forward to spring!