Phantom Workload - Deepstash

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Managing Your Time as a Leader - The Systems Thinker

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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The Action Hero

Give them a seemingly impossible list of tasks and they will have them done and dusted faster than a speeding bullet. But in their haste, they can miss things and prioritize...

The Diva

Very sociable and upbeat but with a tendency to procrastinate, they often boast about their nonexistent achievements giving the impression they are more productive than they really are.

Strategy: breaking tasks into tiny steps, scheduling their resolution and setting reminders works well. Email management according to urgency is also crucial considering how much time it usually consumes. 

The Workhorse

Thoughtful, cautious, methodical and quite independent in terms in carrying out tasks. They plan and prioritize well, but may be seen as overcautious, while others can be frustrated by their inertia. Their dedication to the job can also lead to an unwillingness to share the burden of work.

Strategy: Choose the most important things you need to focus on and those that only you can do, while delegating the rest according to staff skills.

Time Management For Leaders

Managing time gets challenging as our career progresses and we take up more responsibilities. Five ways we can manage our time like a successful leader:

  • Plan reali...
Plan The Unexpected Important Stuff

About 40% to 60% of our day is taken up by important stuff that needs our attention but is not on our daily calendar. 

Planning our day accordingly, keeping about half of it free for these 'out-of-calendar' activities, is realistic and sustainable.

Ask For Time

Instead of committing to getting the requested assignment done as soon as possible, factor in some buffer time and ask for a couple of days or a week. 

This will help you get the work done along with any 'reactive realities' that come up, and it's a win-win if you get it done before the deadline.

Focus on value

The key to any productivity system is to focus on value, not effort.

Instead of focusing on completing as many tasks as possible from your to-do list, focus on the highest-impact ...

Do a mind sweep

This process walks through a list of prompts in different categories, looking for things you're trying to remember and commitments you've made and gets them out onto paper.

It will help you clear your thoughts and get the distractions out of your head.

Review the week to come

Take the time to review the coming week's schedule and organize it into large chunks of time, with tasks grouped by importance and urgency.

It will make it easier to manage your work.