How do you hold time for your most important priorities?

On Saturday, I wrote about my client who filled his calendar all day, every day with meetings. Not meetings in which he got to do the thing he loves — meetings to cover administriva, operations meetings, places where he had to make decisions about things that he wasn’t an expert in. 

He had resolved many times to get himself out of those meetings, to build some margin into his calendar, but that intention had never resulted in change. He had to say “No” to things he didn’t want to do, things that consumed his time and energy; in order to make room for the creativity, the thinking and the action that enabled him to do his very best work. 

If you find yourself in this dilemma, here are some things you can try:

Block time on your calendar for those things you want to invest your time in. 

If you need thinking time, put a meeting on your calendar that says, “Thinking time: DO NOT MOVE.” This works amazingly well for business development time, writing time, any activity that has a long term payoff (so you might be tempted to let get squeezed out by current needs.)

Empower people to make decisions without you…

or at least to come to you with recommendations. Instead of having your team bring you all the information for you to make a decision from, require them to come with a recommendation. “Here are the 3 health insurance plans we’ve priced and we recommend Plan C for the following reasons…” This means you spend little, if any, time in the details and they get to flex their decision making muscles. 

Block time for the Administrivia

Your team does need sometime when you are available to triage hot topics, resolve conflicts, and set direction, that is part of your job. But you can control those meetings! Set them at the time of your day when you are least creative or productive. One business owner I know has open office hours starting at 4:30. Another has a one hour window at 11:30 4 days a week. Be available, but limited. 

Create an ideal week.

You could go a step further and build a model week, with built-in time for thinking, writing, business development, working out, etc. By putting the *big rocks* in first, then the administrivia has to fit in around them. 

What mechanism do you use to keep time free in your schedule for your high priority items? How do you keep the administrivia from eating up your day? 

Hit reply and let me know, it’s a problem we all share and I’d love to hear about some creative solutions!

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