How often do we attribute our success to the fundamentals of discipline and planning? What if we viewed these words instead as responsibility and strategy? Every emotionally intelligent leader who finds success, happiness and fulfillment is someone who takes ownership of their time and strategically builds a rock-solid foundation that enables them to get things done.
In our recent Future of Work Roundtable, Christopher D. Connors, author of Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader, unpacked the time management habits that lead to success and how we can each build them seamlessly into our own daily practice.
To see the full session, including Christopher taking part in a live Mursion demo, visit our YouTube channel.
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“What I’ve learned through gaining a deeper knowledge about myself and then helping to facilitate that self-discovery and growth for others is that the more that we understand ourselves, our limitations, our strengths, our talents, skills, and experiences, the more we’re going to be able to affect positive change, not just in our lives, but in the lives of others.
What is self-awareness? It’s the art of understanding yourself, it’s recognizing, processing those emotions, and understanding then, from a self-management standpoint, how they could affect ourselves and others, but self-awareness is also how we perceive others to see us.
How does this relate to setting habits and time management? It’s really about recognizing what we’re facing and then determining, from a self-management standpoint, how we’re going to go about either reacting or being proactive in our behavior and setting ourselves up for success.
I talk about building a game plan for self-awareness, and true growth begins with a very solid foundation in personal development. It starts by combining the passion. What are we enthusiastic about What are we truly inspired by? What lights the fire inside of us to give us that self-motivation piece of emotional intelligence that powers us to highlighting a bedrock foundation of values? Things like hard work, integrity, honesty, and certainly, from a time-management standpoint, discipline. It could be the perseverance that we have each day in the roles that we’re in looking to effect change.
Self Awareness Leads to Self Management
The five pillars of emotional intelligence, as originally defined by Daniel Goldman, we talk about self-awareness, self-management or self-regulation, empathy, motivation, and social skill. As we go along, self-awareness connects directly to self-management. It’s holding yourself accountable to commitments, managing the different emotions that you’re going to have, and doing so in a very healthy way.
How do you become a better self-manager?
Organization, first, in terms of how we structure our days and plan them, go beyond calendar meetings. I’d say the number one sign that I see in people struggling with successful time management and discipline is that I hear a very common excuse and maybe you’ve said it yourself: ‘I don’t have the time.’
What does that even mean? I think we see so many people actually managing to their calendar. We’re often managing to the different scheduled time blocks on our calendar that we don’t necessarily have ownership of in some instances. Maybe it’s a meeting, maybe it’s a quick proposal call that we’re going to be a part of it. We’re an operations call. If you’re setting as a leader a one-on-one or a team meeting, you do have control over that, but those are the things that fall into the fixed category.
My question that I’d like to ask to all of you is, how can you take greater ownership of your calendar so that you start planning in blocks of time that center around execution, your overall wellness, building relationships, and greater connection with the other people on your team because that’s where the wins come from. That empowers you and it gives you more structure to succeed.
How can you take greater ownership of your calendar so that you start planning in blocks of time that center around execution, your overall wellness, building relationships, and greater connection with the other people on your team because that’s where the wins come from.
Unless we have something that we have deliberately taken the discipline to do, first beginning with the idea, and then the discipline to actually lock into our calendar, that’s what makes it a priority. The habit of doing that on a daily, weekly basis could be what unlocks the secret to really successful habit setting.
The Strategy of Self Care
I talked a little bit about wellness. We seemingly are familiar these days with the ubiquitous term of self-care. What does that mean? I see it through the four dimensions of wellness and well-being, certainly talking about the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual side of things.
I’d ask you, are you checking the box on these things on a daily and weekly basis? Are you building in habits to your schedule and to your overall approach to conquering the week that make time for these things?
One area that I’ll speak to right off the top for me is mindfulness, and this is an easy way. One tool that I have found that has had a transformational impact on my life, I use it every single day including in the hour leading up to our time together now. I use an app called Insight Timer. You don’t have to be partial to that one, in particular. There’s Calm, Headspace.
The more I think about it, it’s actually unbelievable that we have these resources literally at our fingertips that we can access on-demand whenever we want. Having a mindfulness meditation practice has changed my life. It’s helped me to think more clearly and more strategically. It’s helped me to find greater inner peace, but it’s also actually helped me a lot with finding balance in my life.
I’ve incorporated this into the coaching work that I do. That actual part of spiritual and emotional well-being, you can’t put a price on it.
Mindfulness and other aspects of self-care help us to avoid burnout. They help us to push forward on the days when we’re lacking in sleep or lacking in energy.
Mindfulness and other aspects of self-care help us to avoid burnout.
We can’t always bring maximum energy and motivation to every single day. We can do our best, but on the days where we know that we’re not at 100%, it’s these parts of self-care and our aspects of well-being that really make a big difference in driving us forward and how we go about successfully living each day.
The Art of Time Management
How many of you are familiar with the work of Hal Elrod? He wrote a book called The Miracle Morning, which is where the acronym SAVERS came from.
This acronym has had a profound influence on my life. It’s actually just the best tool that I’ve seen for organizing so many of the different parts of self-care. The more that we organize and bake these things into our daily and weekly schedule, the more they become habit.
That’s where we start right at the top here with the S in SAVERS, is for silence. My preference these days is a guided meditation, but you can also do silent meditation without a guided voice. For those of you religiously inclined, of course, prayer is another aspect of that.
It could just simply be spending time in solitude. I’ll tell you that the very best ideas that I’ve ever had in my life, the ones that maybe made their way into my books or became the starting and tipping point for an outline of a book or a talk that I’ve given have come from having time in solitude and quiet, and really, just using that time for thinking. The power of having a great thought life and mixing in ideas.
The A is for positive affirmations, speaking positive things and positive words over your life. As simple as this sounds, it could just be, if you have a presentation this week or you have a project deliverable coming up, saying to yourself either in the voice inside your head or even verbalizing it out loud, ‘I am going to do well here.’ It could just be the things that we all speak intuitively over our lives that make a very powerful difference. The more we infuse positivity into that each day, psychologically, the more it influences our behavior.
Visualizing success. Even in the work that I do, right now here with you, so much of the way that I prepare for talks, presentations, and trainings that I deliver, I visualize myself sitting in the seat that I’m in right now and delivering things like this. Visualization for me of seeing myself succeed, seeing myself go through a process has had a transformative impact on the way that I think and my actions.
The last three are pretty self-explanatory. The Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. Going back to the degrees of wellness there and self-care around the physical, mental side of things. Some people would say that scribing and keeping a journal has a spiritual side to it as well.
Even in the year 2021, it’s tempting to think that we spend most of our time electronically here on a computer screen, or we’re utilizing different tools like iCal or Outlook or Google Calendar, could be Evernote, OneNote, things of that nature. Sometimes, it just comes down to a good handwritten journal that enables us to maintain a to-do list, enables us to prioritize for success, and those things can drive us. Every individual is different. I always say, have a structure, but find what works for you.
Last but not least, it’s that wash, rinse, and repeat. Learn from what works, learn from what doesn’t work, because chances are you’re going to actually benefit and be more successful from the mistakes or the things that didn’t work, grow and adapt, tweak what you use.”
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