The work days of executives are full and complicated. Calendars are booked, and days and evenings are full of activities - meetings, lunches, events, etc. Each day brings new demands -- a request to sit in on a meeting, an invitation to lunch, the proposal for a new project.
Very often we say “yes” to the requests for our time, and those activities fill a never-ending list. However, when we schedule our time by reacting to requests, minute by minute the days get eaten away by endless emails, calls and meetings. We attempt to find more time in the day, but there is always another competing demand, or an unexpected diversion, that take our focus towards something else.
Clarity and purpose are lost when we work like this. We forget what is most important to us, and we lose our sense of connectivity to the things that we value most.
The solution to an over-scheduled life is to take a step back and start with an empty calendar page, then ask your yourself:
If my calendar was empty, how would I choose to spend my time today?
What is most important to me to do a regular basis, for myself?
How can I include those things and still fulfill my other important obligations?
What you prioritize might be an hour for exercise, more time with your family, or an hour for creative or strategic thinking. It might be an hour a day with members of your team to mentor and coach them. Whatever you choose will reflect your values, and what you instinctively know is important for you.
Make this a regular weekly practice to evaluate demands on your calendar and ask - “Is this something that should be included in my day?” Ask yourself if it belongs on your schedule, or on someone else’s schedule. Learn to say ‘no’ to requests that aren’t critical for your attendance.
Make a habit of blocking time on your calendar each week and each day for the activities that you prioritize, and hold to that. As you make this practice a habit, your priorities will shift to the things that are most important to you -- and your workdays will be infused with more fulfillment and purpose.