5. Too Many Meetings
We live in meetings, and our productivity dies in them. Meetings are a huge distraction in a world where leaders often simply need to get work done.
If I’m not careful, I can spend three-quarters of my week in meetings and have only a few hours left over for writing messages and leading what matters most.
Meetings expand to fill the time you’ve set aside for them. So just set aside less time.
6. An Open Schedule
Chance are you only write appointments with others and meetings in your schedule, right?
Make appointments with yourself. Write in writing time, thinking time, date nights with your spouse, family time—everything you need to get done.
Then when someone asks to meet, you can say you have a commitment. If it’s truly important, schedule them in during your next available slot.
I show you exactly how to do that in the High Impact Leader course, and right now we’re including free iCal and GoogleCal High Impact Leader templates with the course so that you can get your life and leadership on track.
An open schedule is a guarantee you’ll spend your time on everyone else’s priorities, not yours.
Conversely, a fixed calendar can fix your life.
7. Conversations Without a Purpose
Conversations can waste tons of time. And they happen all the time to leaders.
Sometimes you feel trapped in one.
What do you do when someone corners you?
Be pleasant and move on. You’ve got work to do.
Turn that 20-minute conversation into a two-minute conversation. Be pleasant, thank them and, if need be, tell them you were on your way to get something done. Then go do it.
If you work in an actual office, close the door or put a sign on the door that you’re doing focused work.
If you’re in an open office, you can even devise a signal with co-workers that lets them know you’re not free to chat. I’ve seen leaders put a small orange traffic cone or another kind of marker on their desk that effectively says “do not disturb.”
If you can shut down meaningless conversations, you’ll ramp up your productivity.