Busy Doing All The Wrong Things
"I can't deal with that right now, I'm busy!".
Looking back, I've lost count on how many times I said something like that. Boy, was I busy! Leader, you know that feeling. You've got 10 things on your to do list and someone knocks on your office door wanting to talk about an idea or their feelings. You just about lose it - can't they see that your list isn't getting shorter and you HAVE to be out of the office today at 5:05 to make it to your kid's soccer game.
This was my life, until one day, it all got real. I had a strong leader in my life and during a 1:1 meeting, he simply asked - "How are you doing?". For the next 30 minutes I just went on and on about all of the things going on in my life, in my role, my team. I talked about all of the little details of events, upcoming meetings and the list went on. When I was finally done, he said something that literally changed my leadership and my life - yep, it's that big of a deal!
He nodded, looked me right in the eye and said, "Kenny, your busy doing all of the wrong things.". At first, you could have heard a pin drop. Of course, my natural reaction was to get defensive. I was busy, but, I was absolutely doing the right things with my time. We have all of these things going on and someone has to do them. What else should I be doing? My mind was racing. Before I could refute his assessment, he continued. "There will always be "things" to do, but the way you are spending your time is going to kill you and it's going to kill those around you."
Exodus 18 lays out the story of a Pastor/father-in-law turned consultant. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, visits him and sees that he is doing everything, while all of is people are standing around him from morning til evening. Have you ever felt that way? I know I felt that way a good bit of the time. I would have conversations in my own head about all of the work I was doing while everyone else just sat around and watched me do it all. Jethro told him, what you are doing is NOT GOOD. Dang! It just got real!
Jethro gives Moses some advice on leadership that changed the game. It changed the way the entire nation was led and ultimately, changed the world (another blog for another day). My busyness was NOT GOOD and it was hurting me and everyone else around me. I allowed tasks to be my master and it kept me from leading the way in the most important things.
Clearly, tasks have to be done, but, what was happening is that I allowed my priorities to be based in my tasks rather than my priorities being based on people. I really didn't have a clue what needed my attention and what needed to be either passed on or just simply not done.
If you find yourself so busy that you don't have time to lead people, chances are, you are busy doing all of the wrong things.
3 Practical Steps to Cleaning Up Your Schedule
1. Have an up to date calendar. Have you ever heard the saying "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"? Guess what, your time IS a treasure. Where you place your time, that's where your heart will be. Make sure you are placing your time in the right places, the right spaces and with the right people.
2. Follow Jethro's advice - you have to do what ONLY YOU CAN DO and give the rest away. Take the time to give away authority by following this simple delegation method:
I Do, You Watch
I Do, You Do With Me
You Do, I DO With You
You Do, I Watch
Be sure that you are truly delegating, not just dumping!
3. Write down your priorities. What is most important to you. Setting goals inside of those priorities will help you clearly know what IS important and needs your time and what IS NOT so important and can be passed away or thrown away.
Having goals inside of your priorities will help you keep your head up, looking toward what is coming, not just what's right in front of you.