4 things great leaders do to get work done

I’ve got an assignment for you. Go out and get a standard baseball bat. Now before you start work in the morning, I want you to set one end of the bat on the floor and lean over until your forehead touches the other end of the bat. Now run sideways so that your body goes around in a circle while your forehead stays touching the bat. (Like this) Do that 10 times, then sit down and start your work. If you ever stop feeling dizzy — do it again.


Does this sound like a great way to get through your work day? How will your decision making be in this state?

Walking in to work and looking at an endless to-do list doesn’t just make you dizzy, it can lead you to feel burnt out and discouraged. When we lose our focus and our priorities aren’t clear, then we end up rushing around to try to meet deadlines. It makes it harder for others to coordinate their activities in order to be able to effectively help you, so you end up with more work on your plate, and a dizzy feeling in your head.

While there are only a few people I know who might actually try my dizzy bat exercise, I would argue that most of us start our day with the mental equivalent of it. We have more tasks on our list than will fit into one day. How do we decide what to focus on? How do we know we’ve done enough? How do we know it’s ok to go home?

Let me help. When you sit down at your desk and stare at that big list, here’s some things to think about to help you to sort out what to do first, what to do second, and what to do never.

1. Prioritize doing your work, not the work of others

Are you clear about what your work is? What things are on your plate that only you can do? If you have a team member, partner or freelancer that can do the task you are looking at, then delegate it. Don’t be cheap! Yes, you could do it, but then who is going to do your work?

2. Prioritize enabling others to do more of their work

Is there something that your team is waiting on you for? If you get that outline, process document, or brief done, then your whole team is more effective and focused. Get that done today! I see too many businesses where the team is waiting around for the leader to finish his/her work.

3. Prioritize building capacity for you and your team

If your company is growing, you need to constantly be building capacity; you need to be building the tools and talent that you will need to succeed at that next level. If you don’t schedule time to get better at what you do, time to develop your leadership, time to design the service that your customers are going to need next, then you’re going to be winging it at best, or passed by at worst.

4. Eat a frog.

Is there something you’ve been avoiding? Is there one task on your list you’ve just been dreading? When I have a task like that on my list it makes me want to avoid my whole list. Instead of dreading that thing, I want to jump on it. Just get it done and knock it out.

When you spend your best, most productive time getting your work done, your list gets shorter (which feels great), your team gets to be more productive (which feels great for you and for them), and you unlock a lot of growth potential in your business. Now isn’t that much better than doing the dizzy bat?

What does your daily work day look like? How do you prioritize and stay focused?

Photo credit: @boetter

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