Leaders! Take Back Your Life! [Part 2]: Marshal Your Smart Phone

In my last post, I revealed that you only have around 100 hours of discretionary time to fulfill all your hopes, dreams, ambitions and desires in your life.  How you use them should be viewed as an investment in what really matters to you.

Leadership is harder than it looks to those who’ve never tried it.  It exacts a real toll in mental and emotional energy that must be methodically recharged to avoid burnout.

Effective leaders, like world-class athletes, create boundaries and rituals in their lives to marshal their attention and discretionary time.

The word “marshal” is an important concept.  A general “marshals” his troops and resources, strategically organizing them to anticipate the flow of battle and prepare to win.  It’s a purposeful, intentional, disciplined activity.  Effective leaders marshal their discretionary time and energy in the same way.

As 21st Century leaders marshal their energy, they have a powerful tool that, if managed, can be a real force multiplier – – or a huge distraction.

Your Smart Phone is an extender that connects you to everyone in your sphere of influence.  But it’s a two-way street that requires boundaries.  The “open door” leader still has a front door when she goes home; folks can’t just wander in at will.  So why not create boundaries on your smartphone?

Here are some ideas on how to do it:

  • Set boundaries on when you can be expected to read and reply to emails. Maybe it’s certain hours on weekdays, may be limited or no access on weekends.  Most executives have their smartphone with them all the time and can be reached in a true emergency.  Make email a non-urgent form of communication on your team.
  • Turn “notifications” sounds off for incoming texts and emails.
  • Set specific times when you intend to read and reply to incoming emails. Make this distinctly discretionary time instead of being whip-sawed moment by moment.
  • Take a sabbatical from your smartphone regularly. One client expressed horror at the notion of enduring a flight to Hawaii without internet access for 6 hours.  Yet many of us recall how delightful it used to be to have that quiet time on a flight to read, create and think!

Remember: make your smartphone work for YOU, not vice versa.

Photo of Eric P. Norwood, FACHE, PCC

written by:

Eric P. Norwood, FACHE, PCC

Chief Development Officer, Executive Coach

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