THE number one thing at the top of most leaders’ minds these days is that they don’t have sufficient time to get done what they need to do. The sense of overwhelm they experience because of the sheer number of critical-to-get-done things on their plate is—OK, it’s overwhelming!
90% plus of the leaders I speak to are battling with their “To Do” list—well, those of them who attempt to organise themselves with a “To Do” list that is.
And the bad news is this: This situation is unlikely to change, well at least not until you retire anyway. So you’d better find a first-class way of beating it, right?
It’s The Sense Of Overwhelm That’s Your Real Problem, Isn’t It?
You know that feeling of overwhelm you have when it feels like things are all coming at you, all at once?
And you worry that you might forget something, or not get to one of the most critical things in time. It’s a horrible feeling, isn’t it?
And for many leaders sleep becomes arduous when your mind’s so full of stuff. And then the next day it’s even more onerous to deliver your best when you’re decidedly tired.
So, what can you do to feel assured that you’ll get the things handled that absolutely need to be handled—and feel certain that you’re directing your efforts in a commercially savvy way?
What’s An Astute Way To Handle All These Things So That You Alleviate This Pressure?
Worry no more…
My silver-bullet panacea for your overwhelm is an oldie but a goodie. A long time ago I discovered that almost everything is better handled when you slot them into a two-by-two matrix. And this problem is no different…
If you’re not using this matrix already, I strongly suggest you suck-it-and-see if it’ll work for you.
How does this matrix work? It has “urgent” on one continuum, and “important” on the other, such that the two top boxes in the matrix are “highly urgent”, and the two boxes on the right in the matrix are “highly important”…
Now just take all those things that you’ve got to get handled and, for each one, ask yourself “Is this highly urgent or less urgent?” then “Is this highly important or less important?” And slot your item into the appropriate square.
Of course, the items in your “Highly Urgent/Highly Important” box are the ones that need your prompt attention. You can forget the others even exist until either you’ve handled the Highly Urgent/Highly Important items, or until their status rises.
The Trick Is To Not Have Too Many Items In Your “Highly Urgent / Highly Important” Square
If you do, you need to loose some of them…
Straight up, you need to make rigorous decisions about which items really do deserve to be in your Highly Urgent/Highly Important box.
Or you can alter your box to a three-by-three matrix—enabling you to spread your items throughout nine squares instead of four—and yet still have a robust way of knowing where your priorities need to lie.
Your Leadership Call to Action
Check it out. Draw your two-by-two, or three-by-three, matrix either on a piece of paper or digitally.
I haven’t encountered anyone who didn’t experience an honest-to-goodness sense of relief after populating their matrix.
Let me know how you go with yours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.