Urgent memo: It’s not that urgent!

In the last couple of days I’ve been catching up on loads of reading within my field – online stuff, a couple of management and leadership publications, business articles and the like.

The single most commonly recurring theme across it all has been this:

Leaders and managers are struggling to get important work done because of the constant demands of staff, customers, shareholders…almost anyone it seems…that require quick response from a senior person.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s what I come across on a daily basis and it’s a massive challenge.

This is why I wholeheartedly advocate having periods of lockdown where it’s possible to focus 100% on getting something important done without interruption.

These periods should be:

  • planned
  • communicated to all staff (& customers if necessary)
  • free from email, phone calls & drop-ins
  • conducted in the time and place that best facilitates the above

This kind of focussed activity is typically 3 to 4 times more effective than ‘normal’ dealing-with-things-as-they-arise time…so not only is it a good idea to think of doing this yourself, you might want to encourage your team to do the same (and if you do, make sure it’s not you who interrupts them)!

Of the things that you didn’t respond to in your lockdown time, perhaps only one in a thousand really needed your immediate attention.

If this is not your current practice, start with short blocks of time, perhaps just half an hour a day, then repeat, extend, repeat again, extend further. See what happens!

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