It’s relentless, this thing called time. Our world, and our very existence, has long been connected to the passing seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years.
“Now” is forever fleeting, because in one passing second, it becomes “Then”.
And in the business world, this realization becomes all the more acute when it comes to using this limited resource most effectively.
Cracking this utilization code is the single most important element to leadership success.
Because time is our enemy.
Yes, even bigger than the competitors we face.
And yet, many of us don’t give it the attention it deserves. I’ve fallen into that trap many times over, losing my sense of time by diving too deep into the muck of details and distractions.
Before I’d know it, critical hours or days would go by, and when I finally came up for air, I’d realize my ROMIT (Return on My Invested Time) was less than zero.
Why does this happen, and what can we do about it?
It happens because we fail to do several things:
• Keep our overall perspective (aka “The Big Picture”)
• Keep our focus
• Wall-off “distractionary tugs”
• Dedicate time to thinking about our time
• Determine the correct priorities
• Corral our fears
These six things all take a toll on ROMIT, and it’s easy to see why it’s so hard to stay away from the traps.
This stuff is hard! Just pick any one of them, and think about how it works (or doesn’t) for you.
The common solution to every one of them revolves around a concept you have surely heard about many times – “mindfulness”
Mindfulness has been talked about in many contexts, but in the case of leading a business (or any enterprise), what I mean here is a kind of discipline of thought – that is, the constant awareness of time and the implications of losing that awareness.
If we can consistently be in that state of mind, then,
• We know we have to keep a big picture
• We’re always focused on our ROMIT
• We keep away from Twitter and Facebook when we need to
• We take time at the beginning of every single day to take stock and prepare for the hours ahead
• We can assemble a well thought-out and sensible priority list
• And, more importantly, we execute the priority list from the top down, and not the bottom up
If we can “conquer” this enemy, and maximize our ROMIT, it has some fabulous side benefits. We will strategize better. We will execute better.
And yes, we’ll outperform that other enemy, the competition.
How can we get to mindfulness?
As many times as our conscious minds can deny it, the answer lies in giving ourselves enough space and time for true reflection. No, not the kind that involves other people, or computers, or handheld devices, but the kind that puts us in a quiet place with absolutely no other outside inputs going into our brains.
Call it whatever you want, meditation, self-reflection, quiet time, “me time”, etc, etc., but it’s something I’ve realized just has to be done. Every day.
And I have to say, it’s been quite a long-term battle between my conscious and subconscious on this one.
My conscious just thinks it can handle everything – the distractions, the issues, the everything. “Multitasking? Sure, bring it on man!”
My subconscious is the one who knows all about ROMIT, and mindfulness, and keeps pounding on the door saying “Stop! Think! Reflect! Stay away from the trap!!”
It’s a constant struggle – but we know who needs to win.
Tick, tick, tick…………