Want to get a handle on leadership, reclaim your time!

Written by Ben Skelton

Back in January a video of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in conversation went viral. The phrase that captured everyone’s attention was simple, “busy is the new stupid”.

The most valuable thing you have is your time. Everyone has the same amount of it, it’s the only thing you can’t buy and if you’re struggling to get everything done, you’re wasting yours.

Stop trying to act important, be important

We are a society of competitive complainers. Sorry, but it’s true. “I worked until midnight”, “well, I worked all weekend and didn’t even have time for lunch”, “have you seen how many emails I have”. And the insidious part is we’re being competitive because we somehow equate how busy we are with how good we are or committed we are to our job. We’re trapped in this needy cycle where we’re constantly valuing ourselves by how much time others are taking from us. Actually important people value their time and give it sparingly. If you only have five minutes with a CEO, you use it wisely.

This is the thing. No matter, what anyone says, you can’t have it all as a founder. Let alone do it all. Great leaders are great because the prioritise leadership. Not because they spend more time doing it.

I cannot stress this enough… STOP DOING THINGS.

I know, I know, “easier said than done”. The reality is there will be hundreds of things pulling you in different directions at any given time. But here is the thing, there is always another email you could be responding to, there is always another decision that needs to be made and another problem that needs solving. So if we maintain the same ‘doing’ mindset we get stuck in this perpetual state of being “busy” that will continue day after day, year after year.

If you want to make take the leap and accelerate your growth, or even, to be honest, grow at all, you have flick that leadership switch in your head and change your approach.

Let go of your guilt

The last thing a team needs is a bottle necking, burnt out leader. If you’re looking to slim down the team, this is a sure fire way to get people to leave. Great leaders are inspiring, uplifting and empowering. They are not stressed out, ratty workaholics. So if you’re aiming to be option A, can I ask you one favour? Start taking some time to inspire yourself so that you can pass it onto others.

Reclaim your time!

Take time out of your day to do the things that light you up. No one, and I mean no one, is inspired by 6 hours of conference calls and hurtling from one urgent task to another. It is your responsibility as a leader to guide your team and if you’re not taking time out to read, think and write then you’re failing them. It’s this misplaced guilt that creates tunnel vision and it’s dis-empowering for your employees. If you don’t take time out to develop yourself and your thinking, how could they possibly think that it is ok for them to do it. You want to make your employees thinkers, not just doers. But most of all. The greatest leaders are the ones that want to be great leaders. That manage their time with that solely in mind and give their time to things that make a difference. Busy is a snake in the grass, and it is holding you back.

So make like Maxine Walters and reclaim your time.

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