“How much ‘LIFE’ do you have every week?”
I ask this question regularly of my executive coaching clients, most of whom are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s a question that quickly cuts to the heart of the matter.
Seven days times 24 hours equals 168 hours in a week. That’s ALL the time available to each of us to live our lives - - work, family, personal development, community service, spiritual devotion - - EVERYTHING must fit within that allotted time.
But wait, you don’t even have that much time! Eight hours of sleep leaves you with 112 hours a week! Moreover, surveys suggest the average American fritters away 12 hours a week on electronic devices and social media. That leaves 100 hours - - your life is lived in a container of only 100 hours a week.
So, you say you work 70+ hours a week, huh? How’s that working for you? For your family? For yourself as a person? Can you keep that up for a successful and fulfilling career? Not likely.
Leadership is harder than it looks to those who’ve never tried it. It exacts a real toll in mental and emotional energy that must be methodically recharged to avoid burnout.
Effective leaders, like world-class athletes, create boundaries andritualsin their lives to marshal their attention anddiscretionary time. Want to reclaim some of your 100 hours to really live your life?
Today’s blog is the first of a series of tips on how to set boundaries and key rituals to harvest more time. Here’s the first one (you might want to sit down and brace yourself first):
Make your smart phone serve you, not vice versa- - Email. Your phone makes the boundary between personal versus professional time in your 100 hours a permeableone. You like it that way when it lets you take care of personal and family tasks during the work day. Not so much when work invades the weekend via texts, emails and calls. My clients are shocked when I ask, “When do you ever turn off your phone?”
Try setting a baby-step boundary like this: inform coworkers that you won’t reply to emails on the weekends, but you’re available by text or phone for emergencies. If you choose to read and send emails to clear your inbox, fine, but that’s at your discretion. You’ll rarely get bothered by text or call. Better yet, as a leader you are setting the tone for the organization. You can help set the expectation and culture for your team. The team looks to you for guidance on how to set healthy organizational norms.
Your team needs you to be fully “recharged” and at your best. Taking this step away will allow you some time to regain clarity and focus. And if you share this idea with your spouse or significant other, they will help you wean yourself from weekend email altogether!
Looking forward to continuing this conversation in upcoming blogs. Feel free to post comments below and let me know of some key boundaries you are setting to harvest more time.
Eric Norwood, FACHE, PCC, is President of CenterPoint Insights, a strategic business advisory firm to healthcare leaders, based in San Diego. He is also a member of the MEDI Leadership team of executive coaches, the nation’s largest leadership development firm dedicated exclusively to the healthcare industry.
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