Maybe you play this little game.
Every Monday (or every first of the month or every new year) you say to yourself, “This will be different. I’m finally going to crush my to do list/get to the gym/be home with my family for dinner/not be overwhelmed.” And before you know it, your best intentions vaporize into a puff of smoke. You’re just as slammed as you ever were. Maybe more. You’re not further ahead at all. You’re either treading water or even further behind.
If you’ve ever struggled with that, trust me, you’re not alone.
When you really drill down on why this happens to so many leaders, you soon see that at the root of it are lies it’s time to abandon.
What you think drives what you do. If your thinking is broken, your doing will be too.What you think drives what you do. If your thinking is broken, your doing will be too. Click To Tweet
There are at least seven widely believed myths that jettison the lives of far too many leaders. And it’s not just work life that suffers. When you don’t have your time under control, your whole life suffers.
The biggest victims? You and your family.
In the meantime, scroll down this list and see if you believe any of these seven myths.
1. I Just Don’t Have the Time
Actually, yes you do. You do have the time.
Every person on planet earth has the same amount of time every day. The only exceptions are the day you’re born and the day you die.
That Fortune 50 CEO? She has the same amount of time you do.
That leader who’s in charge of an organization 10x your size didn’t get any more hours than you did either today.
They just use their time differently.Every leader has the same amount of time each day. Effective leaders use it differently. Click To Tweet
Realizing this years ago was so sobering. It was like in an instant all my excuses were gone. I have exactly the same amount of time every day as anyone I admire.
So I made this shift: I stopped saying that I don’t have the time. And I started admitting I didn’t make it.
Try it for a week. Stop saying you don’t have the time (because you do). Start admitting you didn’t make it.
That will force you to have some hard conversations with yourself when you realize the most productive person on planet earth got the same hours you did today.
When you’re dead honest with yourself about not making the time to read bedtime stories to your kids, plan that amazing off-site, work out, do proper sermon prep, have a date night with your wife, or work on your top priorities it’s so much easier to change.
Begin here: Stop saying you don’t have the time. Start admitting you didn’t make it.Stop saying you don’t have the time. Start admitting you didn’t make it. Click To Tweet
2. Better Time Management Will Solve All My Problems
You’ve probably told yourself that you need to get better at time management.
And maybe you do.
Here’s the problem. Time management alone doesn’t scale because you’re managing a finite amount of time.
Can you get better at time management? Of course. But on its own, time management doesn’t prepare you to handle 10x or 100x your current responsibilities.
You need a better strategy.Time management alone doesn't scale because you're managing a finite amount of time. Click To Tweet
3. I Just Need to Be More Efficient
Should you be efficient? Yes, you should be. But like time management, eventually, you hit a wall.
I’m all for efficiency when it matters, but to go one step further, some activities are by nature not inherently efficient.
People aren’t efficient (bet you’ve noticed that). Neither is sermon preparation or writing. Neither is brainstorming or long-term planning. Parenting isn’t efficient. Neither is marriage or friendship.
Sometimes you need the gifts of space and time. You need uninterrupted, unhurried time to explore whatever you need to explore, relationally or otherwise.
In all matters where you can be efficient, do it. An accounting system that cuts the time in half is probably worth whatever it costs. Ditto with email, routine meetings and so much of what occupies daily life.
But as efficient as you may become, you only have so many hours in a day. And part of what you do will never be fully efficient.
Stop asking yourself how to be more efficient. Start asking yourself how to be more effective.Stop asking yourself how to be more efficient. Start asking yourself how to be more effective. Click To Tweet
Becoming more effective might mean you cut 17 efficient things out of your life. Sure, you may be efficient at a lot of things, but being efficient at things that don’t matter isn’t a win. It’s a loss.
Becoming more effective might mean you cut out six meetings so you can have a full day to ponder and think about the future, or to work on your message, or to handle those difficult personnel problems that never go away.
It might mean you hire someone to do your finance or find a volunteer to do expenses so you can focus on the highest value activities that move your mission forward.
Don’t ask yourself how you can be more efficient. Ask yourself how you can be more effective.Being efficient at things that don’t matter isn’t a win. It’s a loss. Click To Tweet
4. Sleep is for Wimps
Sleep isn’t for wimps, or for the lazy. It’s actually a core habit of many top-performing athletes, leaders and frankly, human beings.
According to medical research, chronic lack of sleep can cause weight gain, age your skin, harm your sex drive, impair memory and can contribute to illnesses as serious as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even premature death.
It’s a little shocking, but it’s not actually an exaggeration to say that a chronic lack of sleep can kill you.
A rested you is a better you. And a rested you is always a more productive you.
So rest.A rested you is always a more productive you. So rest. Click To Tweet
5. I Just Need to Push Through
Sure, once in a while, you need to push yourself well past your personal reserves.
But too many leaders try to do this every day.
They show up exhausted. They work exhausted. And they go home exhausted. Stop that.
Your brain doesn’t even work properly when you’re exhausted.
What took you 3 hours to do at 7 p.m. might actually take you only 30 minutes at 7 a.m. after you wake up from 8 hours sleep.
That problem you couldn’t figure out all day yesterday finally solved itself in your mind when you went on a walk or took that bike ride.
The next time you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, walk away. And come back when you’re fresh.The next time you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, walk away. Click To Tweet
6. I Can’t Control My Calendar Because I’m Not the Boss
Every time I teach the principles in the High Impact Leader, leaders will often say “That’s great for you because you’ve always been the senior leader. I’m not. I don’t have any control over my calendar.”
At that point, I usually ask them that given a forty-hour workweek, what percentage of their hours have mandated activities (meetings, do X and Y hour etc.)
Rarely does anyone tell me it’s more than 20 hours of ‘command performance.’
Which means, of course, that they have full control over half of their workweek. Not bad.
Now pull the camera back a bit. There are 168 hours in every week. This also means they have control over 148 of them: when they go to bed, when they rise, what they do. Even if all 40 hours of your workweek are mandated, you still get to choose how you spend 128 hours each week.
That’s a crazy amount of control.
But typically, we love to focus on what we can’t control not on what we can.
Leaders who focus on what they can control always outperform leaders who focus on what they can’t control.Leaders who focus on what they can control always outperform leaders who focus on what they can't control. Click To Tweet
7. I Just Can’t Say No To This
Yes you can. You can say no.
Most of us, however, suffer from a fear of missing out. We’re terrified of what we’ll miss if we say no, or we feel pressured into a yes.
Most leaders suffer from an overabundance of opportunity and possibility.
Eventually, though, your desire to do everything kills your ability to do anything well.Your desire to do everything kills your ability to do anything well. Click To Tweet
Saying no actually makes your time more valuable, not less valuable, because scarcity creates value.
Saying yes to a bunch of good things will fill up your life so much that you no longer have the bandwidth to say yes to anything great when it finally comes along.
Learning to say no to the right things, and learning to say no nicely is one of the most valuable things you can do. (I show you how in the High Impact Leader course.)Saying yes to good things means you no longer have the bandwidth to say yes to great things. Click To Tweet