How to Create a Weekly Rhythm

As leaders, we have aspirations to be incredibly productive every week. We come to work determined to get ahead and take care of what is most important. By the end of the week, many of us are left wondering why we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. So what is the secret to a successful week?

A few years back I struggled to stay on top of things, which kept me from getting ahead. I remember taking a self-evaluation test where I was asked to rate myself on how organized I was on a scale of 1–10. I gave myself a raving 3, only because I felt confident—confident my organizational skills needed a little attention.

This evaluation was given to me by Building Champions, whom I had hired for personal executive coaching. This was one of the best investments of my life. In the beginning stages, they had me create a life plan, which I have since renamed as my personal life blueprint. If you don’t have a personal life blueprint, I would encourage you to complete one of those first.

Once I became clear on what I wanted in my life, it was time to make it happen by scheduling it. Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them. If you really want to know how you spend your time, you can do a write-down for three days, listing how you spend every half hour. Yes, this is a grueling, yet eye-opening exercise. Building Champions has a time-blocking document you can use here.

[bctt tweet=”Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them.” username=”justinsetzer”]

Now it is time to create your desired time block, which I have renamed ‘desired weekly rhythm’. The weekly rhythm shows how you would spend your time if you could control it. While there are many unforeseen circumstances that can come up in a week, many weeks are normal.

The rhythm is broken up into thirty-minute segments, showing how you would spend your time in an ideal week. There are a few keys to creating a weekly rhythm that will help you get the most out of your week:

1. Plan your day’s theme.

The focus is important and having your day’s theme can be a huge boost to productivity. Instead of jumping from one unrelated task to another, you can get into the groove of working on one aspect of your job. You will notice that I have my theme listed at the top of the spreadsheet. The theme is my primary focus of the day.

2. Schedule your personal priorities.
• Them time: This is the time you have scheduled for your relationships. This should include time for dates with your spouse, time with your children, and friends.
• Renew time: These are the activities that renew you and keep you at peak performance. These could include your time with God, exercise, reading, outdoor activities, etc.

3. Schedule your high payoff activities.

These are the activities that Stephen Covey would place in quadrant II, as described in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These activities will differ from person to person. High payoff activities may include vision casting, coaching your team, recruiting, managing sales relationships, top-level meetings, appointment setting, lead generation, etc.

4. Schedule the heavy lifting early in the week. 

If you don’t knock out the tougher aspects of your job early in the week, you will likely procrastinate with those tasks. If you are like me, it is better to get the hard projects done first.

5. Schedule time to work in the business and on the business.

• In-time is when you are working in the day-to-day operation of your organization when you are in the thick of things.
• On-time is when you walk away from working in the business to working on the business. This may include strategic planning, brainstorming, or working on a new initiative or product. In some settings, it can be easier to focus on working on the business at the end of the week when the other work is completed.

This process may take a few times to get down, but the return on investment is amazing. I have been able to free up an entire day of work per week for on-time.

More importantly, my family and priorities are not being neglected. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are spending time on the things that matter most, and still being productive in your organization.

If you are looking for further help. creating a weekly blueprint for your life is one of the steps I take my coaching clients through, Do yourself a favor and schedule a few hours to make a weekly rhythm. You can download a template here.

How would following a weekly rhythm be beneficial for you?

Six Steps to having a Personal Quarterly Review

Logic tells us that that harder and longer we work, the more we will get done. However, this is not always the case.

Just last week I was sitting in front of this same computer, evaluating how my life was going. Deep, right? That reflective time away was directly responsible for one of the most productive weeks I have had in a very long time. That time away is what some call a quarterly review or personal quarterly off-site.

The quarterly review is a time when you will get a higher overlook of your ninety days, and prayerfully decide your direction for the next ninety. I was introduced to this process from Building Champions and Michael Hyatt, and credit them for the information in this post.

One key to an effective quarterly review is to do it somewhere where you can reflect and think, and give yourself adequate time. So, to do this effectively you should take a half-day or full day off work and get away from everyone. I typically do my reviews at a library; other options include the park, coffee shop, bookstore, campground, or a hotel.

Here are six proven elements of an effective quarterly review.

1. Prayer. We begin with prayer because we want to make sure our will is aligned with His. You may ask Him for direction as you begin the review, or pray through some challenges you are going through. This sets the tone for the review.

2. Review and revamp the blueprint for your life plan. I wrote about creating a personal life blueprint here. A lot can change in three months, especially with the ‘where you are at’ and ‘what you need to do’ sections of your blueprint.

Change any area that needs updating and the corresponding goal. During big changes of life, you may have to revamp much of the blueprint.

3. Set new goals. This is a good time to set new objectives for yourself personally and professionally. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What are three things I want to accomplish in my personal life in the next 90 days?
  • What are three things I want to accomplish professionally in the next 90 days?
  • Is there something in my life that is taking a considerable amount of my time that I need to stop doing?
  • Is there something I need to start doing?

4. Modify your weekly desired rhythm. As life changes, so do your blueprint and goals. After revamping your plan and setting new goals, you must find a place in your schedule to accomplish them. You may have to cut less important things out of your schedule to make your new goals a reality. If you haven’t designed your weekly schedule yet, read this post.

5. Knock out a project. If you are able to take a full day off, work on a project that you don’t normally have time for. This will help you start the new quarter with renewed motivation, and help you feel better for having the day off.

6. End with prayer. I know we have already prayed, but I think it’s good to make sure you didn’t speed through an area and miss God’s heartbeat. During this prayer ask God if there is anything on the plan that He wants you to change. As you finish the quarterly review, thank Him for His grace and love.

Once the quarterly review is over, you need to let key people in your life know about the changes, namely those who they will affect. People such as your spouse, mentor, and assistant need to know the direction in which you are heading. Letting these people know what you are doing and why will make it easier, and help you avoid unnecessary trouble later.

My last quarterly review has already paid off. I am laser focused for the next quarter and have a renewed passion in all areas of life.

The quarterly review is one of the pieces we take some of our coaching clients through. If you are looking to invest further in your personal and professional life, this could be a great next step.

When are you going to do your personal quarterly review?

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

A Free Guide on How to Empower Others and Focus on Your Priorities

If you believe in your organization or cause, you probably want to reach more people. However, there is one issue; as individuals, we are limited in how much we can accomplish alone. In the midst of our day-to-day activities, we get stuck doing things that are not our highest payoff activity.

It was in a season where I was wanting to move forward the mission of the church I lead that I created “Discovering the Process of Delegation.” I wrote it for both me and my team. Seasons of frustration can result in a season of innovation. Most of the good content out there on any subject came from the writer’s struggle with a topic or situation, which was precisely the case with this eBook.DelegationCover3

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There I was, wanting to move forward so badly, but instead, I was getting caught up doing activities that would be better suited for someone else. I have a real tension to manage though; most of the work at the organization I lead is done by volunteers. So I can’t just dump what I don’t want to do onto them, simply because it is not fair. For this reason, I believe we should delegate tasks to others according to their passions and skills.

What I was lacking was a clear process to get the results I desired. So, I created it in this eBook with accompanying worksheets. “Discovering the Process of Delegation” is not only a short eBook, but it also includes step-by-step instructions to help you empower those around you. Yes, although you may have attempted to delegate before and possibly failed, the issue is that you may not have delegated correctly.

“Discovering the Process of Delegation” will help you:
* Understand the principles of delegation
* Know the rules for effective delegation
* Empower your team
* Decide who the person to delegate to is
* Discover your highest payoff activities

I have included two worksheets that will help you track a path of effective delegation. I seriously believe that the results you can get from following the steps laid out in this eBook can transform your organization.

In exchange for the book, all that I ask is that you subscribe to my email list. This will help you stay up to date with the best content I create. I would also love your feedback on the book.

 

 

I’ve heard someone say, “The potential of your organizations rests in the strength of its people.”  If this is the case, we should be focused on developing our teams.

I have served in a leadership capacity for over a decade, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. During the early years of my leadership tenure, I relied on my ability to get work done. While I did a good job at maintaining the organizations I led, they were not moving forward as I was expecting. No matter how hard I worked, I would never achieve my desired outcomes.

Looking back, the biggest issue was that I was not developing or empowering my team. King Solomon said it well, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Not to be corny here, but I was focused on harnessing the power or me, instead of we. I was not tapping into the true power of the organization and my team.

Fast forward a decade and I have become much more intentional at developing those around me. Here are a few simple things I have learned along the way, which helped to develop my team.

1. Coaching Your Team. I believe strongly in coaching your team. I meet every other week with every individual who directly reports to me for their personal development. I learned this from Building Champions.

They start by completing either a life plan or business plan, which serves as a basis for their personal development. These documents include the goals they have set for themselves in their personal and professional lives. Your job is to encourage them and keep them accountable to achieve their goals.

They send you an email 24-48 hours before we meet, answering:

  • Big wins since our last meeting
  • Challenges/obstacles that you’re facing
  •  Key topics we need to discuss
  •  Decisions we need to make

Team members leave these meetings with an action item(s) to complete. During your next meeting, you can ask them about their progress. This built-in accountability benefits both them and you and helps you to develop your team.

I have used the services of coaches for years, and our team would love the opportunity to come alongside you through coaching. Besides creating a plan for your personal and professional life, we can set up a coaching program for your team.

2. Conferences. Get your team out of the office, and get them into an environment where they are inspired together. Yes, you can listen to podcasts or watch leadership videos at work, but there is something about getting out of the office. Mark Batterson is known for saying, “A change of place, plus a change of pace, equals a change of perspective.”

It amazes me how a team member hearing the same thing from someone else causes them to “get it.” In a conference setting, your team will be inspired to see what is possible and hear from some of the best leaders in your industry.

3. Empowering your Team. If we never give people a chance to step up to the plate, they will never develop their swing. We have to give the eagles in our organizations a chance to fly, or they may simply go somewhere else.

To truly empower people, we have to give away responsibilities and the authority to accomplish them. We may have delegated tasks, creating followers; but often, we have not done the right thing by delegating authority to create leaders.

You may have heard the adage, “It takes teamwork, to make the dream work.” The potential is in your team, and as a leader, you are the one that can draw it out of them.

 

What is one step you can take today to develop your team? Is there anything else you could add to this list?
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

 

3 Questions on How To Handle Criticism

If you are moving forward in life, it won’t be long before someone criticizes something you say, do or don’t do. Though it is never easy, I think it is possible to handle criticism with dignity, poise, and grace.

In early 2015, things were really looking up at the church where I serve as Pastor. People were coming to church, lives were being changed, and God was helping our church family grow.

But in spite of all the good things happening, one simple comment brought my world crashing down. Someone came up to me one day after service and shared with me their dislike of something we did during the service. That one comment took me from high to low. I know the person who shared with me has a good heart and was simply trying to be helpful, but the negative comment shattered my world at that moment.

As much as I wanted to just brush off that comment and forget all about it, I decided to use it as a teachable moment for myself. I have learned that we cannot discount criticism from other people as it can help us to grow, even if it’s hard to hear. I encourage you to lean in when you are criticized and evaluate the criticism from a logical, analytical standpoint so that you can learn, grow and become better because of it instead of sad, frustrated, or angry.

Here are three questions you should ask yourself when you face criticism so that you can use it to improve and become even better in your life:

1. Is there any truth to what is being said?

This is an extremely important question to ask yourself when facing criticism. We may not like what we hear or the manner in which the criticism was expressed, but we should not ignore the truth behind the words. This question is best answered once our emotions have subsided and we have the ability to think objectively about what was said.

2. Are they a foe, fan, or a friend?

We need to ask ourselves which one of these three categories the critics fall under so that we can determine the validity of the criticism and understand how to move forward.

 FoeMichael Hyatt calls these people trolls: “These people have an agenda. They are out to hurt you— or at least use you for their own ends. They want to lure you into a fight. I have had three this week. They taunt and mock you. They are unreasonable. If you engage them, they will only distract you and deplete your resources. The best thing you can do is ignore them. As someone once said, ‘resistance only makes them stronger.’ You will never satisfy them. Just keep doing what you know you are called to do.”

Fan: Fans are those who always tell you that you are doing a good job. We all enjoy encouragement in the things we do, but these people may simply be telling you you’re amazing because that’s what they do. Remember that fans may be people who don’t know you well enough to give critical feedback.

Friend: A friend is someone who wants the best for you and is not afraid to give you honest feedback. A friend knows you well and has a desire for you to reach your God-given potential. When friends give criticism or feedback, make sure you pay close attention to it and use it to improve.

3. What do I do with the criticism?

No matter who was critical to you or the manner in which they spoke their words, you can grow from the incident. Remember, growth only occurs when resistance is added.

If you know the criticism given is true, you need to ask yourself, “What can I do to better myself in this area?” This is a key for you to get better from the criticism instead of bitter.

If the criticism is not true, you should ask yourself if the person who shared it with you knows you well. If the answer is yes, you may want to have a follow-up conversation with them to clear the air. If the answer is no, you may want to simply brush off the comments and move forward.

Regardless of what you do, don’t let bitterness take root when someone is critical of you. Yes, this will require you to be intentional, but feedback can be a great catalyst for growth. Some of the toughest criticism I have received has resulted in some of my most beneficial growth.

How can this post help you with handling recent criticism? Would you add anything to this list?

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One Scripture That Will Help All of Your Relationships

While I don’t believe in any silver bullets in relationships, there are a few simple things you can do that will have a tremendous impact.

Relationships will challenge all of us. Whether it is with your spouse, child, parent, boss, or colleague there will always be times of friction.

The relationship that has challenged me the most is raising children. I get the privilege of not only raising my own son but also being a part of foster children’s lives for short seasons. While I am blessed by the opportunities I have been given, there have been days where I needed a little wisdom in my parenting journey.

At the time of writing this, my wife and I are leading a small parenting group. Each week we watch a twenty-minute teaching, and then we spend the rest of the hour discussing what we learned. One week, during our discussion, a scripture popped into my head that will be helpful in any relationship:

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Jas 1:19
This passage gives you three things you can do to help all your relationships.

1. Quick to listen. When a loved one wants to talk to you, be ready to listen. I truly believe listening to someone is showing respect to someone.

When you listen to someone, it tells them that you care about what they are saying. Someone once told me that the person who had the biggest impact on their life was simply someone who had listened to them.

2. Slow to speak. Our quick responses get us in trouble. When we take a few seconds to filter through our emotions, we are more likely to respond instead of reacting.

We are to T.H.I.N.K before we speak:

  • True. Is what I am about to say true?
  • Helpful. Is what I want to say helpful?
  • Inspiring. Is what I want to say inspiring?
  • Necessary. Is this really necessary to say?
  • Kind. Is what I want to say kind?

The best way to be slow to speak is by being quick to listen. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

3. Slow to get angry. Anger in itself is not a sin, but the Apostle Paul told us, “to be angry and sin not.” If we allow our anger to control us, we are likely to make snap judgments. All of us can think of a time when we wish we had not allowed our anger to get the better of us.

Many times anger is heightened because of the issues we are already dealing with internally. These could be bitterness, rage, or envy. For this reason, we need to be proactive towards anger by spending time with God and casting our cares on him. If you need help getting your devotional time going, check out this post.

Imagine how much your relationships would be different if you put these three principles to use. People around you would feel loved and respected, and you would have fewer regrets.

Which one of these three is most challenging for you? How have you been able to overcome your struggles with the three principles listed above?
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Creating a business plan can seem to be a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can create a business plan.

Early in my career I always felt as if I was spinning my wheels. I would put in countless hours of hard work, but at the end of the year, I would not see the gains I desired. I would look back at the year and realize we had not progressed, but simply maintained. In these seasons I did a gut check and wondered what was going on. Sometimes I questioned whether I was the right person to lead.

While most leaders have visions of grandeur, they often don’t have a plan to get from where they are to where they envision their organization to be. What is needed is a business plan. Creating a business plan may seem like a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can create the successful business you desire.

I was introduced to the idea of drafting a business plan by Building Champions, an executive coaching company. The ideas in this post come from what I have learned through them.

Your plan does not need to be twenty pages thick; in fact, it may fit on a single sheet or two. It does not have to be comprehensive, but does need to answer the following questions:

1. What is your primary focus for this year?

Many components are necessary to get to your desired finish line, but what is the one thing you want to focus on this year? The rest of your business plan rests on how you answer this question.

The focus can be on one of two things:

  •  Something you measure. I work in the non-profit arena, so the figure important to me is the number of lives being changed.  For your business, it may be customer retention, leads, sales growth, or location expansion.
  •  Principle. While the things you measure are important, sometimes it is a principle that needs the most focus this year. This could include improving internal communication, creating and implementing a plan for leadership development, improving team collaboration, and so forth. Improving in these areas will ultimately have a positive impact on the numbers you measure.

2. What are your desired outcomes?

You need to know when you reach your goal, so the desired outcomes should be measurable. Businesses may measure in terms of revenue, new hires, new clients, money spent on new initiatives, etc. For churches it could mean baptisms, members cared for in groups, salvation, new leaders trained, money given to missions, etc.

3. What consistent behaviors are necessary to get to the stated focus and desired outcomes?

These are the activities you do frequently that will inevitably help you reach your goals. These behaviors should be written succinctly. If I want to improve team collaboration, saying I will have meetings with my team is not clear or inspiring. However, stating I will hold a strategic meeting the first Monday of every month with my leadership team is.

4. What projects or improvements need to be done to make this possible?

Unlike the previous steps, this is not an ongoing discipline, but rather an improvement that can be checked off when complete. Technological upgrades such as new Customer Management Software, a new website, or a needed server expansion can fall under this category. It also may be a facility expansion or other building improvement necessary to accomplish your outcomes.
I believe that a plan works when you work the plan. This may the very thing you are missing to take your organization or cause to the next level. Once you have your document finished, you may want to reveal it to your team members to get their input and buy-in. I encourage you to review it once a week to see if you are hitting your marks and to adjust your course as necessary.

Creating a business plan, life plan, and weekly rhythm are a few of the key elements I work on with my one-on-one coaching clients.

What is the next step you are going to take to make a business plan? What else would you add to this list that could be helpful to readers?

 

The Six C’s of Leadership

Trying to find the right leaders for our teams can be a challenging task, but there are ways to make that process less daunting. Knowing the qualities to look for in a leader removes some of the guesswork and allows you to pick a good leader with confidence.

I remember a time when I had to really evaluate our church— where it was at currently and where it needed to go from there. The organization was stuck in a proverbial rut and needed to be changed from the inside-out.

Leadership expert John Maxwell is widely known for saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I knew that if I wanted the church to make big changes, I had to make sure I had the right leaders in the right places.

Over the following eighteen months, many of our top positions experienced a change in leadership, and this not only included staff positions but volunteer positions as well. It was during this time of great change that I stopped to look at the qualities that all good leaders needed to demonstrate, my “Six C’s of Leadership.” If someone is to succeed in a leadership position, they must demonstrate these characteristics. Let’s take a look at those characteristics.

The Six C’s of Leadership

1. Character

This is the most vital of the six characteristics, and the one that can hurt the most if you overlook it. The person you choose will be representing your church, business or cause, and you don’t want someone who will harm your reputation as a damaged reputation takes a long time to rebuild.

Resist the temptation to ignore serious character issues in a person simply because they are good producers. You may gain in the short term, but you will lose in the long term.

Do your due diligence in the interview process and ask any potential leadership candidate tough questions that reveal their true nature and character, and don’t forget to check with their references.

2. Competency

Simply put, you always want to find the very best person for the role you are attempting to fill. You may not always be able to afford the very best person, but there is no reason not to aim high. If you are only looking for someone to settle on, you will never find that true gem.

Companies and churches often overlook competency because they are trying so hard to relieve the pain of a vacancy in their organizations. But if you simply fill the position with a person that is unqualified, you will inevitably have to deal with the same problem again in the very near future.

The person you consider hiring should be capable and passionate about the role they are filling. People are less likely to burn-out and get frustrated in areas of personal passion.

3. Culture

If your organization has a healthy culture, it is often ideal to promote someone within the organization that understands the culture and could develop into the leader you need. I truly believe that instead of trying to find a superstar, we need to develop superstars.

Not everyone will be the right fit. In fact, they can have the other five C’s and still not be the right person. I have seen leaders who truly love God, have a calling in their area of service, love people, but still were not the right fit.

And sometimes promoting from within is not always the best decision, and we need to hire from outside the company. If you are hiring from the outside, it is important to make sure that the person is not only capable of performing their role well, but also able to fit well with your culture.

4. Capacity

Ideally, you want to hire a person who has the ability to grow and develop as the organization does. If they hit their leadership peak early and fail to grow, they will slow down the pace of the entire organization.

There are those who simply can do a task, others who can lead a team, and even those who are leaders of leaders. Which one do you need?

5. Calendar

In the church world, much of the significant work done for God is done by volunteers. This may not be the case for you, but you still need to make sure the person has the right calendar to handle the role, meaning they have the time to devote to the role they are filling.

I have hired dynamic people who have had the other C’s in spades but lacked in time. The result was that their performance suffered, simply because they couldn’t put in the time to get the job done.

For those leading churches, this factor is especially important. I learned from Bill Hybels to make sure the work people are doing for God is not killing the work God is trying to do in them.

6. Chemistry

Can you and your team work alongside this individual? You have probably heard of countless professional sports teams who have the best talent but still can’t win the championship. One of the reasons for that is a lack of true chemistry.

Before you move forward with a candidate for a particular role, get to know them in a professional and personal setting. Have them meet the rest of the team. Do they naturally seem to get along well, or does there seem to be tension or awkwardness? Some people might take a bit of time to warm up, but you can usually tell right away if someone is a bad fit. It makes a difference not only to the candidate’s performance but to the performance of the entire team.

Early on in my career, I made some poor decisions when putting people on my team.  I believe many of these challenges could have been avoided by going through each one of these C’s and asking myself, “Do they have the ____________ for the role/position?” We want to make sure potential team members have each of the qualities leaders need before moving forward with them. It will help us choose leaders with confidence and conviction.

Which of these qualities is the hardest to find in a leader? How could you use these six qualities as a guide in the future?
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Leadership development sometimes seems hard to wrap our heads around, but it doesn’t need to be. There are a few simple things you can do to grow as a leader.

I have been in leadership since the early 2000s but didn’t develop as much as I would have liked my first few years.

In my early thirties, I desperately desired change in the areas I lead. I came to realize that the problem wasn’t those around me, the market, culture, or other things I could have blamed it on. The problem was I had reached my leadership capacity, and everything around me was sinking.

In addition to seeking God, I started to do a few simple things that led to tremendous change.

1. Read. Leaders are readers. Most of us would love to sit down and pick the brain of Jim Collins, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, or Seth Godin. The reality is you can, and for less than you think. For the price of a book, you have access to some of the best leaders in the world.

2. Listen to podcasts. Similar to books, you can learn from the best in the world, but for free. There are plenty of great leadership podcasts out there from some of the best thought leaders in the world.

You can get amazing information on almost any subject through this medium. There are podcasts on spiritual growth, leadership development, becoming a better parent, and so much more.

3. Hire a coach. If you want to go further faster, having a coach might be best for you. There is an investment to this, but the ROI is well worth the cost. I saw tremendous gains after I started using the services of Building Champions.

Andy Stanley once said, “You can be better than everyone else in your field without coaching. But you’ll never be as good as you can possibly be.”

Currently, I have a few one-on-one coaching spots open. We will work together to create a plan for your personal and professional life and hit your desired outcomes.

4. Join a mastermind or peer group. I meet up once a month with those in my industry. There is so much you can learn from those younger and older than you. Like coaching, there is an investment to join many mastermind groups.

The advantage of these is that you can be very frank with those in this group, with a less likely chance of any backlash. There is something special about getting around those who have gone through, or are going through, what you are experiencing.

5. Empower and develop other leaders. When you give away leadership, you not only grow in your leadership but also your influence. You won’t tap into your true capacity until you start to develop other leaders.

Take a moment and think about those around you who you can develop as a leader. If they are a direct report to you, you can empower them by delegating some of your tasks and responsibilities to them. Leading others is one level, but being a leader of leaders is something entirely different. If you want to improve your delegation skills, improve your ability to delegate, you can read my free ebook Discover the Process of Delegation.

I had reached my leadership lid, and without having a hunger to learn more, you may as well. The best way not to hit your leadership lid is to continue to learn because leaders are learners.

Action Step: Which one or two of the steps above do you need to take to expand your capacity? What are some other ways to grow as a leader?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

 

The one hour a week that can change your life

We are all given 168 hours a week. I believe that there is one hour that will help you stay on top of a busy life.

Many times I’ve had an experience at the beach that reminds me of how my life was going. I am enjoying myself in the water, bar the occasional splash of saltwater in the mouth. After an hour or so, I look up to see my stuff on the beach and realize I have drifted far away from my belongings.

My life for many years felt like this experience at the beach. The current of life was constantly trying to pull me away from things that are important to me. This has changed since I became intentional in the areas of my life that matter most.

I learned about the Life Planning process. This process that ultimately changed my life was picked up from Michael Hyatt and Building Champions. After learning the process, I created what I call your Personal Life Blueprint. You can learn more about creating a blueprint in this post. Once I knew what was most important, I implemented a weekly review to stay on top of those areas.

In the weekly review, you take about an hour out of the hustle and bustle of your life to look up and ensure you are not drifting away from what is important. The system I use is an adaptation of the Getting Things Done method from David Allen. Here are the steps I go through during my weekly review:
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1. Read your blueprint.
Once you have created your blueprint, review it every week to help you reach the goals you have set. Reading about what is important to you will help you from drifting too far from your goals. This built-in accountability will go a long way.

2. Process all emails and get my inbox to zero.
Emails are like weeds. If you don’t stay on top of them, they will get out of control. During the weekly review, you decide what to do with each email.
• Respond immediately if it takes less than two minutes
• Put in a respond-later file
• Delegate the needed action from the email
• Delete

3. Review other digital messaging outlets.
Check other accounts for outstanding tasks/items including:
• Social media
• Work Instant Messengers
• Software- CRM or other management systems

4. Process any loose paper.
File or process all loose paper including:
• Notes in Evernote- are they tagged properly so I can find them later?
• Receipts- tag or process
• Paper inbox (file any papers that have made it to my paper inbox throughout the week).

5. Go over previous week’s calendar.
Make sure you didn’t overlook something, such as a task assigned to you from a meeting. You may realize there is something you have to follow up on in the near future. You may be reminded of a thank-you note you want to write.

6. Look at the upcoming week’s calendar.
Make sure you are ready or will be ready for upcoming projects or meetings. Ask yourself what are the three to five things that must be accomplished this week?
If you are married, go over the calendar with your spouse. Once you are finished with it, make sure to ask yourself the question, “Have I scheduled the most important things in my life?”

7. Review and add to task/project list.
I use Nozbe to help me with my tasks and projects. There are many other project management software programs such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. The goal is to find a system or software that you enjoy.

Whatever task manager you use, I encourage you to set up a template for your tasks that are recurring. This will help you from having to reinvent the wheel every week.

This one hour (or less) weekly investment has changed my life and paid more than its fair share of dividends. I am more prepared every week than I ever was before and able to stay on top of a busy life. The more important areas of my life are getting the attention they deserve, and everyone around me is benefiting.
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Action Step: What one hour a week works best for you to do a weekly review? What else would be beneficial to add to your weekly review?

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