Would you agree, every once in a while, you get yourself involved in activities that don’t contribute to your success? If you are honest, the answer is yes.
Blame in on a variety of things that are outside of your control (other people interrupting you, the sound of an email arriving, the economy, the government, etc.) if you want. I’m not buying any of it simply because in the vast majority of situations, you get to decide what you spend your time doing.
Peter Drucker was known for working with and advising thousands of corporate executives during his brilliant career. I recall one of those executives telling me one of Peter’s famous quips, “Before you add to your to do or project list, determine first what you are going to take off or stop doing.”
Perhaps for you, this is easier said than done. I get it.
- Successful Leaders don’t get sucked into social media. Spending an hour a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the other social platforms equals 365 hours per year. This translates to 15 full days! Ask yourself if those 15 days can be spent doing other things to bring the results you desire. If you can’t pull away from it, try setting a daily or weekly time limit and allocate this time to the time of day which is already your least productive.
- Successful leaders don’t go through the day without a plan. If you have been a reader of my emails for awhile, you will know I quote Jim Rohn’s advice, “Never start the day until it’s finished on paper” meaning never dive into your work day until you have identified exactly how you will spend each hour and what you are going to accomplish.
- Successful leaders don’t involve themselves with emotionally draining activities. Instead they focus on activities that will provide fuel, not drain it. This applies to saying yes to someone’s request without giving it much thought. Instead, ask if this request will help you bring your goals or the organization’s goals closer to fruition. Ask if spending time with this person will be invigorating or draining. Will spending time with this person provide a positive or negative return on your investment of this time.
- Successful leaders don’t spend time worrying about things they can’t control.Instead, they focus their time and energy on the activities they can control to achieve the results they desire.
- Successful leaders don’t spend time with negative people.Negative people are draining, even if they are part of your family! To quote Jim Rohn again, “You will become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” If any of those people tend to be negative in their outlook, they won’t be helping you succeed – they will only help you feel miserable because misery loves company. When choosing your 5, choose wisely!
- Successful leaders don’t dwell on past mistakes. We all make mistakes, particularly the risk taking leaders we know and respect. Instead of dwelling on the mistake, learn from them. Don’t let the mistake slow you down; instead take the learning from the mistake and apply it to the new situation. Experience is not the best teacher, EVALUATED experience is. John Maxwell wrote a book a few years ago entitled, “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You…Learn” and it contains some great wisdom in this regard.
- Successful leaders don’t focus on what other people are doing. Comparing yourself to what someone else has achieved will only produce one of two results: inflated pride or internal shame. Neither are very helpful. It’s ok to be inspired by others. Strive to be the best you can be, not necessarily the best.
- Successful leaders don’t prioritize themselves last. You must put yourself, your health, your well-being first. This is not being selfish, it is being accountable as a leader so you can be your best when others are leaning on you for guidance, direction and assistance. If you are not at your best, how can you possibly think you can give your best?
So here is my challenge to you. Reply to this and let me know the one thing on this list that really got your attention and you will commit to not waste any more time doing. If there is something else you have found that should be added to this list, let me know that as well.
PS. Several of these ideas are discussed more broadly and deeply in my e-book: Success In The C-Suite – Top Seven Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement. You can learn more here.