Sharma: The Time Tactics of Leaders

Written by Robin Sharma on Monday, April 12, 2010

One of the things the best of the best in business (and life) do staggeringly well is they leverage time to create spectacular results. We all have the same amount of time in a day/month/life. Those who use it poorly live half lives. Those who use it well become superstars.
Time truly is the stuff of life. This moment will never come again. Yes, with the seduction of distraction, it’s so easy to postpone doing those high-leverage activities that will really help you lead and win in your work. In so many ways, leadership is about blocking out the noise and having the discipline to concentrate your days on the few things that will make the most impact. (Warren Buffett said his No. 1 talent was his ability to focus.)
In my work as a leadership advisor to many of the superstars in business and organizations like Nike, FedEx and IBM, I’ve observed that the best time tacticians do the following things to get their exceptional results:
1. They Make Time to Think. While their competition is asleep, world-class leaders are up—and they’re not watching the news or reading the paper. They are thinking, planning and practicing. They are recording their goals, reconnecting to their missions and preparing to play at wow. The more time spent thinking and refining what’s most important, the more focused you’ll be at work.
2. They March to a Different Drumbeat. It takes a lot of courage to be your own person, but that’s part of what leadership’s all about—being comfortable in your own skin. So, the best leaders run their own races. They work and live in an unorthodox way. They are up earlier than most people. Rather than spending their lunch hour gossiping, criticizing and complaining, they are reading, working out or visualizing. Rather than listening to the radio on their morning commute, they are training their brains for excellence by consuming audiobooks and learning programs.
3. They Get That Peak Performance Is a Pulse. Top athletes understand that to play at their best, they must alternate periods of intense performance with periods of strategic renewal. They have an “onseason” where they deliver at world-class. And then they have an offseason where they renew, regenerate and refine their skills. The key to their genius is actually what they do in the offseason. The same applies to us. Each day, work hard, innovate and go the extra mile. Then pull back and recharge. Find ways to restore depleted energy and get your inspiration back. The next day you’ll be even stronger.
4. They are Ruthless with Distractions. Cell phones, mobile e-mail, and all the other cool and slick gadgets can cause massive losses in our creative output and overall productivity. They are wonderful servants, but they are terrible masters. And they’ve made a lot of people who could be doing world-class work addicted to being busy.
Build “technology-free zones” into your days. Three hours of focused time on the projects that will really add value and uplift your career are so much better than 10 hours where you are constantly being interrupted and taken off your focus. Allow technology to be a brilliant tool to help you lead more effectively, not a shiny distraction that ultimately causes you to waste your life on trivial things.

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