Infinite distractions, pressing deadlines, the sheer volume of work on your desk!!... I believe this is a challenge many individuals face and I want to share with you 3 crucial thoughts that will encourage you to go to another level of excellence in your life, not just at work but in how you feel after you leave the office.
1. Create Time Margins
If everything gets invested into only one aspect of our lives, we don't have the time, energy or willingness for the other areas. Begin by setting yourself a leaving time. “What, are you crazy Ben?! I can’t just leave when I want to!!”... Maybe so, but staying as long as you feel you have to will only encourage you to burn out altogether.
Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands to fill the time’... If you set yourself a leaving time, or better yet, aim to leave the office 15mins earlier than you normally would one day this week and then the following week try 20mins, you will notice 5 things will happen:
• You will begin to work smarter and with more efficiency knowing you have a leaving time
• It will challenge you to rethink your priorities
• You will create a higher standard of performance by doing less. (Think about the 80/20 rule here)
• You will have gained 4hrs of your month back
• You will boost performance by avoiding procrastination
“It is not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential” - Bruce Lee
2. Manage your urgency addiction
My personal belief is that failure is defined as succeeding in one aspect of your life to the detriment of another. Climbing to the top of your corporate career to the detriment of poor health in your 60’s and abandoned relationships might feel like success in some ways but its not fulfillment. Arnold Palmer once said that “success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get”. Sit with that for a moment…
It’s not the load that breaks you down, its how you carry it...
Rather than setting yourself a forest full of goals for the week and having a mile long to-do list, spend some time and energy removed from the ‘urgency zone’ and start to define who you want to be in each of the different areas of your life (i.e. social, emotional health, contribution to the community). Begin to take action in the 1-2 areas that are most neglected.
3. Live out your values more often
Values are not just concepts or principles that we hold important, but words that access an emotional state within us. Our performance at work is heavily governed by our values, which act as emotional fuel. When we consistently make the urgent a priority or work tirelessly at the expense of everything else that is important to us, we can often lose our efficiency and effectiveness and also our happiness because our values are not being met.
- Define your core values that serve as emotional fuel
- Are you experiencing those values everyday or every week?
- If this week you started saying ‘no’ to the things that took you away from your intentions /core values, what would those things be and how much more energy would this create in your work?
Would love to hear your thoughts.