Our lives are too busy and the world is moving too fast for us to keep adding to our daily to-do list without first getting rid of time-wasters. I’m referring to ineffective routines and performance-draining habits that squander our leadership bandwidth. If you want to be more successful – and feel better about your work/life balance – you have to focus on what you really want and stop doing anything that doesn’t move you closer to that goal.
When Leonardo da Vinci was carving his famous statue of David, someone asked him about his process and he said “You just carve away anything that doesn’t look like David.” Michelangelo had a similar approach. He explained that he clearly envisioned what he wanted the finished sculpture to look like, “and then I carved away enough marble to set it free.”
Take out anything that doesn’t contribute to your objectives and fill in the space with strategic habits that set you free and transform your dreams into a daily reality. It’s not about how many exciting new habits or trendy techniques you can add to your daily routine. It’s about finding ways to make room for the phenomenal, sustainable habits that will multiply your success.
I teach my clients to monitor their daily routine based on what will work to accelerate their momentum. At the same time, we discover what is holding them back and weighing them down, and start to rid them of those habits. One client, for example, was focused too much on his lack of experience, despite the fact that he was highly capable. To compensate for that perceived weakness he was taking on too many projects and spreading himself thin. I had him focus instead on his strengths – which were in sales and marketing – and to do a better job of managing his brand and articulating his value to senior decision makers. His confidence grew, his performance metrics soared, and he was able to market himself in a way that highlighted his contributions to the organization. That earned him a rapid promotion.
The key is to build bandwidth with multipliers, while eliminating the energy spent on detractors. You have to invest in what will generate the greatest returns, and figure out what daily activities push that investment forward. A small adjustment to the right daily habit can create a career-altering change over time.
The principle is dramatically illustrated if you offer a person a million dollars versus the chance to have a penny that doubles in value every day for one single month. Most people choose the million dollars, not the penny. But the fact is that the multiplier effect turns that penny into more than $5.3 million dollars in just 30 short days.
The point is that if you apply the right multiplier effect in your business and daily leadership routine you can exponentially grow your marketing efforts, industry visibility, client base, and compensation package. You won’t waste time, delay your goals, undermine your personal fulfillment, or postpone the shaping of your leadership legacy.
Take a quick inventory of your daily routines, patterns, and habits. Pick one you can live without that is just sapping your time and energy. It could be anything from staring into your closet in the morning confused about your visible brand to holding team meetings that are not that productive. Objectively evaluate your daily activities and find the one that is counterproductive so you can reject it.
Now choose two new daily habits that can help you get from where you are right now to where you need to be next year and three years from now. Perhaps it’s a networking plan or a strategy to develop your executive communication skills or leadership presence. Whatever it is, incorporate it into your life to drill-down with greater focus on your short and long-term goals and dreams.