Q: I get this question asked a lot ,"How do you get so much accomplished and stay so focused?"
A: Routines are deadly while a rhythm is necessary for growth as a leader.
The people (including this guy) who face constant burn out are those who have a routine but no rhythm. This means their routine is a habitual problem that puts them in the direct line of burnout.
A routine can be very deadly. For instance, your routine could be that you:
•take on every task as it comes.
•don't say no to opportunities or needs.
•leave work late every day because you can't say no.
•allow other people or co-worker's lack of planning put you in a tough spot.
•don't schedule meetings properly or schedule too many.
•allow people to back you in a corner by needing it "right now." They need to learn to plan as well.
•have no daily and weekly task, meeting and emergency schedule.
And the main reason is you don't have a rhythm. Lets be honest: your routine of spontaneity, haphazard planning, lack of foresight and inability to say no is taking its toll on you.
2013 was the year I had to move from an unhealthy routine of the hamster wheel to a healthy rhythm.
A rhythm means that you establish certain tasks on certain days, live by a calendar, protect your personal time and refuse to be spread thin.
A rhythm looks like this:
•certain tasks HAVE to be scheduled and completed weekly. I will even say, "I am in a meeting." It's that serious. I am meeting with that task.
•schedule personal devotion time and exercise. Being physically unhealthy is the result of a routine as well.
•Plan time in each day for "surprise" or emergency tasks. They will happen. Stop being surprised.
•live by a schedule. This means you can't stay on the phone as long as you want or surf the Internet all day. There are times when I can't take calls because I have scheduled "meetings" with critical tasks.
•if it's important they will leave a message. Schedule times to return calls and emails.
•have downtime EVERY DAY. Don't be so consumed with work that it's a you do or think about.
Here is the easy way to do this. Plan your week around the big tasks that have to happen that week and every week.
I write my Sunday message on Monday. Why? The media team needs it and I don't want them to be pressured late and I want that monkey off my back. I have 4 major tasks everyday that have to be accomplished. I work through those first and then go to "surprise" tasks that come in via email or call. The schedule dictates my time, not feelings or other people.
Take time this week to set up a RHYTHM. Remember, don't complain because you are the master of your schedule. If you live in a rhythm then others will have to adjust their routines to your rhythm.