Four Ways Productive Leaders Own Their Day

We’re not talking about creating the flexibility to scoot out to a spin class – although that’s well and good. Instead this is about how the best leaders maintain their focus even when the world is flying at them like water from a firehose.

When you strategically own your day as a leader, you can concentrate on what matters to you and your team. Here’s how.

1) Your week starts on Sunday

Let me explain. While I’m not advocating that Sunday is about cleaning up your email or looking at your calendar, Sunday evening CAN be a great time to start your mental onramp to the week.

Take a few moments to think about the upcoming week:

What are the strategic goals for you and your team that you want to achieve this week?

What are your top three priorities and must-do’s?

How will you develop your people this week?

When you write them down and then look at your calendar, it can help you make the hard choices about what you can and should jettison.

Want to get a step ahead? Productivity guru Laura Vanderkam recommends doing this exercise on Friday when you have more advance notice to cancel or condense redundant meetings.

2) Be ruthless with your meeting time

We all know that meetings are a time suck – that’s why, in our trainings, we spend so much time on better meeting management skills and techniques. Here are a few tips: Only hold meetings you absolutely have to, establish ground rules and only invite those who are critical. Maybe emulate Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ “two-pizza rule:” If there are more people in the meeting than can be fed by two pizzas, there are too many people.

And if it’s not your meeting, take a hard look at whether you need to be there. Are you personally critical to the outcome of the meeting or can you send someone else? To be an effective leader, you have to trust other people to make great decisions so you don’t waste your time.

3) Get ahead of your to-do list

Every evening, spend five minutes before you dive in truly assessing what’s important for you to accomplish the following day. Don’t be one of those people who populates your to-do list with “easy wins” so that you can cross something off.

Decide on the activities that will truly help you accomplish your three strategic goals and stick to those.

4) Spend time with your people

There is no better use of your time than helping your people improve. And guess what? If your people don’t get better by being with you, then you are just a “manager,” not a leader.

Of course it’s easier to spend our time managing tasks – it brings us satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. But what’s more important is to be with your team, using every moment to help them get them better so they can build skills against those strategic goals.

Readers: What’s one way you can own your day in the coming week? Share with us below!

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