At every turn, someone is saying something about leadership. “These three secrets to being a better leader, five truths all leaders must know, and eight ways to be a better leader.” I have contributed my formulas/ideas about leadership over the years. In a complex world, what are the necessary few things, if done regularly will make a difference? What should I be doing every day was the question a young man asked me a couple of weeks ago and here are the five things I told him to do daily.
1 The two-minute rule. When faced with things that come up in a day, always ask yourself can I do this in two minutes? If the answer is yes, Do it now. If the answer is no, use whatever method you like for getting things done. For me I use Nozbe. So if I cannot complete the action or the task will take longer than two minutes, I put it in my Nozbe inbox where I will process it later. By doing this, it helps me not to keep handling the same paper or email multiple times a day, if an action will take two minutes or less do it now!
2. Create an ideal work week template. I know there never is a typical week. But, if it did ever occur what would it look like? What would you do in the morning? How would you bunch your tasks and errands? When would you exercise? When would you read, pay bills, think strategically, etc.? Put it into your ideal week template. Though you may not have a typical week often, you will begin to have a plan on how to plan and execute your day and week. If you have never seen such a tool, I would suggest you look at the one created by Michael Hyatt.
3. Plan your day the night before. I think this is one of the most important organizational tools available. Now time for a confession. I plan everything the night before. I lay out my clothes, I pack my backpack, review my calendar and note each appointment and make sure that I have all that I need for the meetings and I put that material in my bag. I review any notes or agenda items for meetings. I make sure that from my standpoint everything is ready. By doing this the night before, keeps me from being unprepared for the new day. Planning your day the night before is one of the greatest stress relievers in the world.
4. Have a morning routine. I have read two books that helped me greatly in this area: The Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod and the 5 AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders. These two books emphasize the importance of having a plan in the morning. I have created my plan to start my day productively. I do some writing in the morning. I pray and read two chapters in the Bible, and I make every effort to attempt to complete my MIT(most important task) of the day. I get ready for the day and eat breakfast. The reason this is important is that if the day gets away from me or things happen that need attention, I still have gotten some important things done early that day. If you do this long enough, it becomes a routine that you anticipate and look forward to as a way of starting your day.
5. Schedule time for your family and yourself. If you go to the gym, put it on your schedule and treat it like an appointment that must be kept. Your health is your job, your priority, and if you are not healthy you will not be of help to anyone, so go ahead put it on your calendar. Schedule weekly family time. Years ago I learned from Nelson Searcy to place all of my vacations at the beginning of the year on the calendar. By going ahead and putting my vacations on the schedule at the start of the year, makes a statement that my vacation time is both real and significant. Schedule date nights. Do not get so busy making a living that you forget to live your life! Do not ignore God, family or your health.
My advice comes from someone who has been doing this for awhile, and I have made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot from others. Why not try some or all of these five ideas?