What's the first step you take to become a more efficient
leader? There are, of course, varied leadership styles, but a key
element of mine is trying to set the example for a balanced,
organized professional life. For instance, I always spend the first
part of my day sorting through emails – I'm happiest when
my inbox is as close to empty as I can get it– which reduces
distraction, giving me a clear vision of what needs to be achieved
for the day. The goal is to spend as little time as possible
throughout the day worrying about unresolved tasks and other
peripheral concerns, and to model an organized system of
productivity to my team.
Of course, one of the greatest benefits of having a balanced,
organized professional life, is that this will in turn create more
opportunity, and good habits, for a balanced, organized personal
Many professionals believe organization is a luxury they
can't afford. As far as I'm concerned, it's a necessity
you can't afford to ignore. From better direction for your
team, resulting in greater productivity, to morale improvements and
a more positive work environment, the effects of well-organized
leadership are easy to argue. But how do you make it happen?
It's all...in your head?
In his book The Organized Mind, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin
demonstrates that multi-tasking is actually incompatible with the
way the human brain functions. The conscious mind can only pay
attention to four things at a time, but many leaders find they are
regularly distracted by a variety of unresolved tasks. Strange as
it may sound, computers and smartphones thus make it more difficult
for you to focus, offering distractions as varied as a new email, a
digital news article or attempting to read multiple spreadsheets in
simultaneous review. Of course, we can't work without modern
technology, but streamlining, and even compartmentalizing how we
use these tools can lead to increased focus and efficiency.
So how do you and your team start getting organized? We utilize
two approaches in our firm. First, we have implemented an office
wide program, which tracks the status of team projects. The program
shows a project's status and which items are a team
member's responsibility to move along. It is imperative that
everyone participates in to the system for it to be the best it can
be. As leaders we need to be the cheerleader for the success of our
system, encouraging everyone to be equally engaged in the
Secondly, we encourage all our staff to develop a personal
process to manage emails, phone calls, questions and follow-up
matters. This requires personal discipline and a big time
commitment. I personally use Tasks in Outlook and highly suggest
that you not use your inbox as a to-do list. We encourage our team
members to enroll in priority manager sessions and/or other time
management training courses.
There are lots of systems that can work. The key is to adopt one
and commit to it each and every day!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Law Society of British Columbia’s Cloud Computing Working Group issued its Final Report on Cloud Computing on January 27, 2012, amending an earlier consultation report approved by the "Benchers" on July 15, 2011.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).