I got some valuable feedback for my last post on presence in leadership (thanks Thea!) and it was around how to ‘respect time’ in being present with your people; be it your customers, Clients, staff, friends, family – both in business and in life. It really is a delicate balance to uphold, and a common thread of complaint I hear from my Clients, about ‘not having enough time’ or ‘getting constantly interrupted’ as the contributing factor of not being able to complete what they want to get done.
I also know that in this sped up world we live in it’s hard to be disconnected or create space to ‘do’ your work each day; with open plan offices giving minimal privacy, to not have people knocking on your door constantly, bombarding you with emails, and tapping your shoulder (even when you have on the ‘do-not-interrupt’ headphones on at your desk). One of the top benefits from feedback I get from my coaching sessions is the opportunity for some space and to ‘think’ without any interruption.
The value of time goes beyond being organised and the basics of 101 time management. I believe that you need to identify and commit to what is important, and really know how to distinguish the priorities over just completing tasks, see the bigger picture and understand ‘why’ you’re doing something.
This involves stepping back, reflecting and getting a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved, and not being in a cluttered environment (both mentally, emotionally and physically). A great leader will be able to discern, direct and engage people to help them once the goal is clear.
Sometimes ‘getting clear’ means leaving the office, walking around the block, keeping a regular exercise practice, having a de-brief at the end of the day or a quiet coffee at the beginning to confirm your priorities, and sometimes saying no to people. Before you approach someone or send a meeting request – have a moment of thought, what is the purpose of this conversation, what do I need from them, and an overall desired outcome. See if it changes how many times you tap someone on the shoulder – do it with intent rather than impulsively.
Experiment a little…
Over to you, how can you create this practice of valuing your time, and that of others?
Can you catch yourself the next time you go to interrupt someone and consider if you can spend the time to think through a solution first?
Can you find a way to manage the time you spend with your team, like setting time aside for reviews rather than 20 separate conversations during the day, or giving yourself 1-2 hours of ‘working time’ in your diary away from meetings.
I’d love to hear how some of you value your time by managing or minimising interruptions. I suspect it comes down to physically removing yourself from the room, or turning off emails and phones. How can we begin to respect one another and our time, it’s not just the big cheese who gets interrupted?