You’re not making a list of things to get done each day. Your memory is never as good as you think it is. Make it a habit to write down important tasks and ideas, and build a to-do list from them. A to-do list should be the foundation of your productive day. When you can see all the tasks you know are still yet to be done, it becomes that much easier to prioritize and reassess where you are and what’s next most important.
You’re not delegating appropriate tasks. You have employees for a reason: to do what you ask them to do. Of course it’s on you to make sure that these requests are appropriate, but delegating your tasks to others when you’re the head of an organization might just be the single most valuable strategy in whittling through your work, getting more done, and reducing your stress all at once.
We have already written this handy guide on how, why, and when to delegate something to someone else. Take it for a spin!
You’re leaving your email inbox open all day. People can only really do one thing at a time. If your attention is divided between email and a meeting or writing a presentation, then you’re not making progress appropriately. Not only will your task take longer (with all that going back and forth to email) but the quality of your work will suffer because you’re busy also thinking about email. It’s not effective. If you’re not actively engaged in reading or writing email, close your inbox. Really.
You’re staying up too late or waking up too early. You need proper rest and reenergization if you’re to ever change the world in the way that you’ve decided to change the world. Get your body on a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Find a rhythm that works for you, that feels most effective, then stick with it. Sleep touches your mood, your health, your relationships, everything. Don’t take shortcuts here.
You’re eating poorly. The human body is a machine. The fuel you put in it greatly affects its output and performance, so make sure you’re eating well-rounded meals and getting proper nutrition. For bonus points, start exercising or taking vitamin supplements. An unhealthy leader is hardly one to inspire hope and diligence in his employees. If you’re slamming Big Macs and Cokes all day, it’s time to reassess what you put in your body.
You’re being a perfectionist. The following can’t be overstated: nothing is perfect. It is good to make plans, of course, and good to work towards executing that plan. But there are always speedbumps, sudden problems that pop up out of nowhere that can change the very nature of what you aim to do. Roll with the punches, buckle your seatbelt, and acknowledge that there are some things you simply cannot control in this world. Internalizing this mentality and not being discouraged in the face of perceived hardship is always the mark of a strong business leader.