Peak performers buy time during the day. They do several things during these time-outs.
* They relax and re-energise.
* They re-centre.
* They refocus.
Let’s explore how you can follow these steps in your own way.
1) You can buy time to relax and re-energise.
Start by drawing a map of your day.
You may get up, eat breakfast, get into the car, spend an hour driving, reach the office, get coffee, sit down at your desk, answer emails, go into a meeting, go straight into another meeting, do emails, make phone calls, have several back-to-back meetings, grab lunch, go into two more meetings, make phone calls, do emails, make phone calls, get into the car, spend an hour driving home, eat, spend time with the family, do emails, relax, go to bed. Then begin again.
Looking at your schedule, when do you get time to relax and re-energise?
Peak performers break down their day into blocks. They always build-in time to re-gather their energy. This rule holds true whether they are pursuing their working day, writing an article, climbing a mountain or whatever.
It’s impossible to go flat-out all the time. So sometimes they take a complete break; other times they slip into a lower gear or cruise control. Re-energising themselves can take different forms. It might involve walking outside, spending time in a quiet area or whatever.
Refreshed by the time-out, they then become completely engaged in the next activity. Failing to take this step leads to running on empty and can affect their ability to make good decisions.
Take a look at your working day or at a specific project you are tackling. How can you create time to re-energise? What will be the benefits of taking this step? Try completing the following sentences.
2) You can buy time to re-centre.
“This is a technique I learned from painful experience,” explained one leader. “Sometimes in the past I rushed into taking action too quickly. Certainly it is vital to act, but first you must focus on the right goal. Nowadays when faced by a crisis I go through the process of asking myself:
‘What are the real results to achieve? What are the potential options, together with the pluses and minuses? Bearing this in mind, what is the option I want to pursue?’
"People say you grow through experience. But it depends what you learn from experience. Buying time gives you the chance to dip into that experience and make good decisions.”
How do you behave at crucial moments? You may be solving a problem, tackling a crisis, making a key decision or whatever. Sometimes at such moments it is vital to re-centre and go back to your deepest values. Taking an helicopter view, you are then more able:
* To clarify the real goal you want to achieve.
* To clarify the potential options.
* To settle on your strategy for achieving the goal.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. First, describe a situation where you may need to buy time to make a good decision. Second, describe the specific things you can do to buy time. Third, describe the benefits of this approach. Try completing the following sentences.
3) You can buy time to refocus.
Imagine you have settled on your chosen strategies. Take the time to translate these into specific action plans. Good leaders, for example, go beyond clarifying what their team must do to achieve the goals.
They also ask themselves: “How can I communicate these plans in a way that people can understand and use to achieve success?” Certainly if the ‘aircraft is in a spin’ you may simply take the controls and say: “Just do it.” Other times you may want to educate people about:
* The ‘What’ – the specific results to achieve.
* The ‘How’ – the strategies to follow to achieve the results.
* The ‘When’ – the specific things that should be done by who and when.
Peak performers then take an interesting step. They do what they say they are going to do. Sounds obvious, but many other people don’t implement their plans, get side tracked or find an excuse for failing to deliver.
Getting results calls for buying the time to formulate and implement your plans properly. How can you take this step in your own way? Try completing the following sentences.
“The pressures are enormous, so I haven’t got time to buy time,” somebody may say. But paramedics, trouble-shooters and crisis managers believe in taking the helicopter view, even if only for 10 seconds. Taking this view enables them to make the right decisions at the right moments.