The Uninterrupted Manager

The title of this article may seem a bit bewildering at first, but for some of you who are constantly bombarded by telephone calls or accosted when trying to get from your office to the washroom, you know exactly what I mean. Being in a position of leadership usually means that others make demands of your time; and this can sometimes seem overwhelming. So, how does one have enough time?

One of the key words I’ve learnt over the years, while occupying senior positions is “balance”. Yes, Yoga does teach you a lot, but more than physical balance, I mean a spiritual balance of sorts. It can become really easy for one to define oneself by what one does. (Note that I’m using the word, “one” since I can no longer relate to this sort of ‘imbalance’ and I hope you get to this level as well!)

Years ago, during a coaching session, I asked a manager (let’s call him ‘John’), “Who is John?”

He replied, “John is CEO of this company.” I prodded him further, asking him to go deeper. He continued, “John is CEO of this company, who took it from losses to profits in three years.” I still encouraged him to dig more. “John is CEO of this company, who took it from losses to profits and who is in the process of purchasing a Jaguar for his wife!” A smile came over his face as he mentioned the last part.

However, by the end of our coaching session, John came to realization that he was more than his performance as a CEO; that spending time with his wife and family meant more to her than the purchase of a vehicle; and that by defining himself by what he did, rather than by appreciating all the magical components that contributed to his life deprived him from truly living.

When we define ourselves by our jobs, it’s easy to donate too much time to the function. Ironically, this leads to time wastage and by extension, stress. Time allotment should be managed properly. (You call yourself a ‘manager’ right?) This speaks to who and what we allow to consume our time. I sat with a Director who complained he had no time for his son, but yet who rambled through what was supposed to have been a half hour meeting, about his exploits in Rome. The meeting therefore lasted two hours!

You are the controller of your time. Observe how you use or abuse it. To me, time is the most precious asset we have. Be careful what you do with it. I guarantee that if you schedule wisely and tolerate fewer or no interruptions at all, you will complete your tasks on time and you will get a full night’s sleep!