The 7 Fires of the Day

June 5th, 2017 | Posted in Clarity, Confidence, Fit Leader, Leadership Fitness, success by

How many of us spend too much time, day in and day out, attending to the “7 fires of the day”? Many of my clients bemoan the fact that the big projects never seem to get the attention they require for meaningful accomplishment.

Other newsletters and time-management gurus offer tons of advice, including:

  1. Don’t start your day sifting through the emails in your Inbox.
  2. Tackle your most important project first (“eat that frog”).
  3. Begin each day with your “hour of power”.
  4. Place your to-dos directly onto your calendar in real time.
  5. Avoid the tempting distractions that only make us feel like we are being productive (“focus on importance instead of urgency”).
  6. Let go of projects and assignments that others can handle.

While I am personally a big believer in all of the strategies advanced in the list above, the stark reality for most busy and successful leaders is that there always will be more work than we can accomplish on any given day.

Item #5 in the list above is particularly worrisome inasmuch as leaders often allow themselves to be pulled away from what’s most important because it feels good to be needed, and because when a project is urgent we experience that addictive adrenaline rush.

One of the fallacies many of us fall victim to is the belief that if we keep working on something (in pursuit of that adrenaline spike), we will get it figured out and/or completed. A smarter strategy might be to let go of something we get stuck on, and move on to other scheduled activities.

When we step away from a project to focus on what’s next on our schedule, the unconscious part of our mind continues to process the previous task. We can actually reach the point of diminishing returns very quickly by forcing our attention too long on something that we can’t figure out.

Fit Leaders bring discernment to the many choices they have for how they spend their time, and on what gets their focus. Being clear on our weekly and 90-day priorities will give us the confidence we need to say no to those activities and tasks that keep us from our most important contributions and mired instead in the “7 fires of the day”.

What will you choose to work on today, this week and the next 90 days?

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