“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future”
-Fly Like An Eagle — The Steve Miller Band
There are a few things true about time. Time is relentless. Time keeps moving. Time never surrenders and time is undefeated. We can try to accelerate or decelerate time but it does not work. Time just keeps right on ticking. As the Steve Miller Band said so poetically, “Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future,” and that is how I often feel. Time is relentless.
Time starved is how we often feel as organizational leaders. We often feel dominated by the tyranny of the urgent and can’t catch up. Work keeps piling on our desks and we come in every day just trying to survive and make it to the next day. We jump from fire to fire just hoping the flames don’t ultimately consume us.
Have you ever come into work with the best intentions to get meaningful work done that day? You create your to-do list, grab an extra cup of coffee and hit the day with a clear eyes and full heart. Then, at the end of the day, you feel exhausted, take a look at your to-do list only to see it looks just like it did at the start of the day. You exerted a lot of energy. You burned a lot of calories but feel like you really didn’t move the important work down the road at all.
We have all felt this way. We have all felt time starved. We have all had days where we wish there were more hours in the day and days when we felt defeated because would just could not seem to get done what needed to get done.
We work hard, but are we working smart? There is a difference.
Some of the urgent work is pushed down onto us from other parts of our organization. Some of the urgent work is created by our own personal management system. The urgent work comes from many different places but has the same effect. It leaves us feeling time starved.
The business suffers as a result. Engagement is impacted. Attrition increases. Inefficiencies exist. People operate misaligned. Execution of strategy is slowed down, impacted or sometimes derailed. Low performance continues to drag down the organization and our teams.
We are exhausted and it can lead us to ask ourselves why we decided to become a manager in the first place.
There is a villain in our manager story. There are superpowers wecan leverage. All of this is what we will unpack in our Time Starved Manager series as we discuss strategies we can deploy to help us fight this battle and help us learn to work smarter.
You can escape the tyranny of the urgent and start to fight back to create capacity to focus on the important. There is a solution. There is a different way. There is another path with different outcomes.
Being a manager is not just about surviving. It is possible to also thrive as a manager. Constantly feeling time starved is not the norm. It seems like the norm because it might be all you have ever known, but there is a better path. There is a way to redeem the time and use that redeemed time to exchange for something valuable to you.
To do so takes effort. It takes intentional effort and learning how to work smarter. That is what we will unpack together. We will expose the villain and introduce an emerging superpower that can enable you to create space in your brain and your world to get the important work done.
Imagine that scenario. Imagine a world where you leave each day feeling you accomplished what you intended to accomplish. Imagine a world where the important work gets completed and you do not succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. That is the type of world I want to lead and operate in.
To start heading in that direction, we need to first expose the villain that keeps us from making this imagined scenario our everyday reality.