Want to be effective?  A repeating issue when working with senior leaders is a lack of energy and time. Many seem to believe there is a medal given on being busy. 

Chances you if you open your calendar there are back to back meetings. No time to think, preprare, plan or coach your direct reports.

We work when we are sick, miss our lunch hours, often postponing our one to ones.

Why do we feel that we need to give of our all, 100% of the time? We arrive home exhausted. No time for exercise, or often our loved ones. How can being so exhausted be good for us? Or our organisations?

As a result we lose perspective. We lose our ability to ask the right questions, have the important conversations, or make the right decisions.

Yet the one thing to be effective, the key to your success? Time to think.

It is why coaching is so transformational, as you get real time to think. And the more time you give yourself, the more energy you will gain. The more exhausted you are, the more time you need to recuperate, recover, and refine your focus.

A common exercise I carry out with senior leaders is to have them open their diaries, and select at least one weekly meeting they really shouldn’t be attending. After delegating, empowering and communicating appropriately, that time is not allocated to thinking time. If you want to set an example to your direct reports, call it “Thinking Time”. If not, call it “T Strategy”. It is bland enough for no one to ask questions.

In that time, think about your purpose. Why you do what you do. Write it down. Draw it. Doodle it. Write a poem on it. In short, think creatively about your purpose. After some ten to fifteen minutes, think about your biggest challenge in context to your purpose. This line of thinking will open up new questions, perspectives and potential solutions.

Once you’ve done this, figure out the next meeting you can exclude yourself from. Time is one of your biggest assets. If you are not spending it wisely you are not doing your job properly.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please add any comments below.

Mark Bateman is an Executive Coach, working with senior leaders to improve personal and organisational effectiveness.