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Leading at our Inconvenience

Picture of Simon Thiessen

Simon Thiessen

CEO, Lead Facilitator, Mediator - The Real Learning Experience

As leaders, when we wait for a convenient time to do something, that could often mean never. Or at least way after it should have been done.

Stop and think for a moment.

When was the last time you had too much time? Can you remember when you didn’t have more to do than time to do it in? In fact, if you really stopped to think for a moment, when was the last time you actually did that?

The reality is that our lives are busy – possibly too busy but that is a discussion for another day!

Another reality: we will never have more time than we do today – days aren’t getting any longer. They aren’t planning to release new improved days that are 25 hours long!

If we wait until we have time to do the things we need to do as leaders, until that magic time when it is convenient to do them, they may never get done. That is OK if the things we aren’t doing are not important. But what if they are? What if they are things like leaving your desk and catching people doing things right? Giving them positive feedback and showing gratitude for their efforts? Or perhaps it is dealing with that pattern of underperformance or interpersonal communication that is causing rumblings in the team?

Assuming you are leading a busy cluttered life like 90% of the population, there is only one option. When things are important, we need to be prepared to do them when the time isn’t perfect, when it isn’t convenient.

We need to do them at our inconvenience.

Doing important things at your inconvenience means we have to:

  • Stop kidding ourselves that a mythical time exists in our future when we won’t be busy
  • Accept that, if something is important, we should be finding ways to do it now even if now isn’t a convenient time
  • Committing to when and how we will fit this important thing into an already crammed schedule

Time isn’t elastic, even though we often operate as though it is. When we put something new into our day, it doesn’t stretch. Instead, time is like a bucket – one that just happens to be very full for most people. When we put something new into that bucket, something else spills out. It is inevitable. As long as what ‘spills out’ is less important than what you just put in, you are ahead.

So, with too much to do and not enough time to do it, how do you decide whether something should be done at your inconvenience? 

Ask yourself a simple question – if my only choice was to do this now or never, what would I do? Would I suddenly ‘find time’ for it or would I be prepared to let it go? Forever.