It’s a learned behavior. Odds are you had mentors or bosses who were forever putting out metaphorical fires. You learned something implicitly: Busy = productive. Scratch that. Busy = valued.
It’s not true and odds are when you started out in your career you sensed it in your heart, if not your head. But the allure! Running around all crazy you couldn’t help but feel… important! Needed! This whole thing relied on you to keep those balls in the air or else they would fall and everyone would be let down.
Busy is often times, bullshit. Sure, you’ve got deadlines and reports, and big things in the works. Who doesn’t. If you’re running a restaurant, the kitchen had better be busy or you’re not making jack. But you’re not the sous chef for Chez Awesome, now are you? Didn’t think so.
To be effective you need to delegate your time and spend some much valued time planning so others can faithfully execute. Like a good point guard, yours isn’t to score all the points – it’s to distribute. And to do so in a way that allows your team an easy dunk.
If you sense yourself saying any of these things as a leader – check yourself, lest you wreck yourself:
- OMG! I’ve got so much to do!
- WTF! I’ve got 156 emails since lunch!
- IDK! Maybe I have 10 minutes next week, maybe!
- If I don’t send this TPS report by 3pm, I’m burning this whole thing down.
Also, it’s a good tip that if you find yourself speaking in “text talk” then you’ve likely got some big issues.
Busy isn’t beautiful – and it sure isn’t effective. Yes, at times, you’ve got to put the head down and scramble, but that’s not the ideal situation. The glory goes to being prepared. Toward having effective systems. Toward making the most of opportunities and marshaling resources into a mighty force for good.
So next time you have the inkling to put off your work till 5pm so you can stay until midnight and claim your gallantly selfless act, don’t do it. Leaders don’t engage in such sophistry. You’re better than that. I know you are.
Insert a bunch of quotes here on: not waiting till the last minute, being awesome, and having great commitment to rad internal systems in your winning organization.