How do You Prioritize Your Work Time?
In his book, The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, Hans Finzel defines mistake number two as putting paperwork before people. This is understandable because tasks pile up demanding our attention while nothing tangible seems to come from the time we spend interacting with people. Yet, the leaders who inspire, empower, and lead teams to greatness find time to connect in meaningful ways with employees, clients, board members, peers, family, and a strong network of associates.
What are your thoughts? Join the conversation on Linked In. Here’s what we got out of our initial discussion:
If you are interested in this book, it’s a quick read with executive summaries of each chapter for the busy leader. You can click on the image to get more information from Amazon:
Here are some questions we discussed:
- In your job, what is the “paperwork” and what is the “peoplework”?
- What are some of the most important results you get when you engage in your peoplework?
- Do you have a sense for what the optimal balance is between the two?
- When do you get overly drawn one way or the other, and what do you do about it?
Here are some of our most important take-aways:
- “Peoplework” can be different for everyone. Some examples we heard were: being available to employees, people development, networking, business development, team building, coaching.
- Everyone does not default to putting paperwork (or tasks) before people. It seems that some people are more task-oriented and some are more people-oriented, and most people gravitate to the work they are best at and are more energized by.
- The benefits of peoplework can be invisible, the opportunities missed, and the results intangible. Some examples we discussed were: (a) building relationships and taking time for people in your network; then getting results, but not necessarily from the people you spent time with, (b) choosing to take time to be in meetings you don’t need to be in or go to events you are on the fence about attending can have huge pay-offs, or they might not – you will never know, (c) when you choose to ignore an issue or an opportunity to attend to people, you will never know what you missed.
- Both people work and tasks are essentially infinite, so you can never attend to everything. You have to know where your boundaries are and contain or systemize the most important work to make sure it gets done – especially the proactive work that nobody will notice if you ignore.
- Knowing yourself and when your peak work time is can be helpful. For example, focus work might be done in the morning, and in the early afternoon, when it’s harder to think, it might be a better time to make phone calls, meet with people, send thank you notes, or do other relationship-building activities.
- To manage time, people suggested time-blocking, and/ or using the stopwatch app to set aside even small chunks of time to work on the things you tend to avoid. It also helps to systemize and create routines to get important but non-urgent proactive work done.
- Sometimes you can do things with organizational structure or physical space that can make a huge difference in people dynamics (listen to Margaret’s story above for an example), so “peoplework” isn’t always about spending time talking to people.
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