The beginning of a new year is a natural time for us to think we’re starting with a clean slate: I’m going to eat better. I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to spend more time with friends. I’m going to ______.
If you’re a leader, you might gravitate towards areas of productivity. This is the year I conquer my inbox. These are my goals and here’s how I’ll reach them. This is the time I lead my team to do ______.
But there is one non-negotiable in leadership (there are plenty of others, but “one” sounds way more dramatic, so humor me, will you?). Without this, you can’t effectively lead. Without this, you have no perspective. Without this, you won’t be able to move forward.
You have to get out in front of the issue in order to be able to lead the issue. You can’t manage your schedule without planning some time to plan some time. You can’t slay the email beast without carving out a half-day to figure out your strategy: both for today and every day after this one. You can’t implement lasting spiritual disciplines without deciding (a) where you need to grow and (b) the resources you’ll need to bring about that growth. You can’t lead your team or set your goals or make change without first taking an hour or two or twenty and determining the best way forward.
You have to get in front of the issue in order to lead the issue.
Your team needs you to get in front. Your family needs you to get in front. That restless, confused, anxious, weary part of your brain needs you to get in front. As a new year rattles on and your to-do list eclipses what you’ve to-done, maybe it’s time to set aside some time to plan your time.