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The Tyranny of the Urgent is Killing You

Posted by Grace Lee on Sep 24, 2013 6:59:00 AM

Are you killing yourself, your creativity, your leadership, your organization, and your people by living under the tyranny of the urgent? Do your habits create a culture of constant reaction, or planned response? Does your leadership style cultivate fear and stress, or confidence and trust?

In my interaction with school leaders across a wide spectrum, so many work and live at a frantic pace. They move from one "crisis" to another, trying to bring order from chaos. Scheduling an appointment with this type of leader is frustrating for parents and faculty because this leader seldom shows up for a meeting on time and his/her focus is usually elsewhere.

MarginSwenson Margin Cover

Your body isn't designed to constantly operate at a high level of stress. Dr. Richard Swenson discusses the need for Margin in life, where one leaves time to intentionally be quiet, think, plan, listen, reflect, contemplate, write, etc. This means planning the day with white-space of uncommitted periods.

Healthy living requires reserving enough margin to get the proper amount of sleep, to exercise, to connect with people, to pray, and other such investments of time that bring balance to life.

Your Productivity will increase, as will your quality of life, your happiness, your relationships, your energy, and your success.

Enjoy Ignorance

Ignore those invitations or temptations that can draw you into unimportant work. This is an odd statement coming from an educator, but ignorance can be useful. Your unending desire to know everything that goes on at the school and involving yourself in tactical tasks is inhibiting your leadership because it communicates a lack of trust in your team and your inability to delegate.

You don't know everything and you can't multitask. Despite claims to the contrary (I've done so in the past myself), brain research has clearly demonstrated that the human brain doesn't multitask and actually becomes less productive when trying to accomplish simultaneous goals.

Stick to what works: build on the combination of your strengths and instincts to refine your unique genius. Delegate the activities at which you are not good along with those you can do well but are not part of your unique genius. Hire people around you who compliment your natural gifting and build up their stengths. Invest in them. Love them. Trust them.

Find Your Quiet Place4 8 Principle Cover

The Quiet Place is a useful website and app to help keep things in perspective. This reminder might help you set the tone for your day. Focusing your mind on what is beautiful, useful, true, and wise will prepare you for great success. Tommy Newberry's book, The 4:8 Principle, is another highly recommended resource. I love this book and refer to it often to keep a healthy mindset.

Let me know if you have other tips for maintaining a healthy balance in life to avoid the tyranny of the urgent.

Topics: Leadership

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