By: Elizabeth Louis
“I have never encountered an executive who remains effective while tackling more than two tasks at a time.”
With summer approaching, life can get hectic, especially if you have kids out of school. I recently told a client that I miss being in grade school because I loved the idea of sitting by the pool and reading all summer long. Reading by the pool is one of my favorite things to do. However, with limited time and busy schedules, learning how to be an efficient and effective executive is vital. You can accomplish more and enjoy more things you love by using your time wisely.
Just so we are on the same page, by what I mean, let me define what it means to be an efficiently effective executive.
Efficiency is getting a lot of things done. Effective is choosing and accomplishing meaningful tasks that propel your company (or yourself) towards the big goals. Meaningful tasks are anything that significantly improves personal and organizational performance.
If you want to learn more about goals, grab your copy of the CRUSH YOUR GOALS workbook.
I want to share 5 tips to help you become an effective executive.
Tip #1: No Where Your Time Goes
Did you know that the average CEO or executive works 62.5 hours per week and spends 72% of that time in meetings? Shockingly, only 28% of their time is spent on projects or tasks alone. To be more productive, tracking where your time goes is crucial. Unfortunately, many meetings are a waste of time and can be eliminated or shortened.
To work smarter, not harder, I recommend that executives track their time for 3-4 weeks at least twice a year. Thanks to modern apps, this can be done quickly and easily. By tracking your time, you can identify your good and bad habits. You might be surprised to learn that you spend most of your day checking emails, for example.
If you find yourself constantly checking emails, consider setting specific times to check them and creating an automatic responder to let others know when they can expect a response.
Tip #2. Single Minded Focus
Many of my new clients struggle with being “double-minded,” which means that their attention and focus are divided between two different ways of thinking. This causes them to move sideways instead of forward, leading to exhaustion, stress, and frustration.
To overcome this, it’s important to clarify your goals and priorities and set boundaries for yourself and others, so you can achieve a single-minded focus.
For instance, being double-minded can be like straddling state lines or having one foot in and one foot out of a relationship, which leads to conflicting actions that don’t complement each other.
On the other hand, single-minded focus requires laser-like concentration on your goals, and everything you think, say, and do must align with that mission.
Tip #3 Intentionally Grow
You have unique abilities that you can contribute to the world. Focusing on your strengths and using them to impact your company’s performance positively is essential. However, addressing weaknesses that hold you back is also crucial. If you need help with negative self-talk or low flexibility, it’s essential to improve these areas intentionally.
This may involve dedicating time each day to learning, skill-building, or personal development. Remember that growth doesn’t happen by chance; it requires deliberate effort.
As we scientists say, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Tip #4 Reflect, Discuss, and Move
Did you know the brain works best with reflection, discussion, and movement? If you aren’t a big fan of journaling, that’s okay; even though it’s amazing for you, there are other things you can do.
For instance, go on even labyrinth walks and intentionally reflect on your day. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Where did I think like a champion?
- What lessons did I learn?
- What could I do better tomorrow?
Also, recite your goals and I AM statements, and thank God for all He’s doing for you. During this time, contemplate with solution-focused questions how you can level up your performance, mindset, and leadership. Visualize it. Get detailed, and believe you can make it happen.
Tip #5 Be Decisive
This quote by Gen. George Patton is brilliant: “A Good Plan, Violently Executed Now, Is Better Than a Perfect Plan Next Week.”
People who struggle with making decisive decisions often suffer from an extreme rejection mindset. The rejection mindset unconsciously tells you in all that you do that humans have to accept you before you can accept yourself, or God will accept you.
This is a dangerous trap because leaders must accept that many people won’t like them. Also, most people struggle with so much doubt and uncertainty they are paralyzed to make effective decisions let alone just a decision.
Here’s the thing, you must make and execute decisions and trust yourself and your effort to figure the rest out. Very rarely does life go as planned. Therefore, it’s better to be agile with a growth mindset than focus on perfecting the plan or, even worse, the outcome.
Let me know what tip most resonated by replying to this email.
In the meantime, I’m rooting for you!