We all experience it – you are on your commute home and think, “what did I actually accomplish today?” The day was a blur and you might even feel like you’ve ended up with more “to dos” rather than knocking any off your list. There was so much time spent in meetings and on supposed urgent requests.
What if there were a different way of approaching your day and measuring your impact?
As you review your calendar at the start of each day, think about your strategic goals and ask yourself these 5 questions:
- Where do I want to add value today?
- What conversations will move the needle?
- What relationships do I need to continue to build?
- Who on my team would benefit from my attention, feedback and support?
- What can I delegate or say no to?
This last question is key. Freeing up time enables you to put your attention where it matters and will help you keep your focus through the day. When delegating you may need to spend some initial time preparing team members to handle an issue on your behalf. Yet, a wonderful byproduct of delegation is employee development and increased engagement. The more experience team members gain, the more confident they become handling issues on your behalf. Saying no to a request or meeting might be challenging but not impossible. It is all in how it is handled – try taking the time to explain your reasoning and be supportive without taking on the request. Are they coming to you because you’ve always helped them out? Maybe it is someone else’s turn, and you can have a conversation around exploring other resources. Often what is most challenging is not wanting to disappoint another person or let them down. Revisit your goals and give yourself the space to think before you respond. I’m not suggesting never help others, just consciously choose where you will place your energy.
At the end of the day, really take the time to think about the impact you’ve had by answering the same questions in the past tense.
- Where did I add value today?
- What conversations moved the needle?
- What relationships did I continue to build?
- Who on my team benefitted from my attention, feedback and support?
- What did I delegate or say no to?
This has a much different feel to it than reviewing your “to do list”. It acknowledges that much of what you do as a leader is about evolving everyone’s progress toward goals.
I encourage you to be intentional about where you will place your attention as you start each day. At the end of the day, week, month and quarter, notice what happens as it relates to your overall leadership impact.