Speaking of Leadership Blog - 5 minutes
Thinking of Leadership Quote - Lynne Cazayly - 30 seconds
Leaders I Admire - Mark Quayle - 1 minute
Routines are the Gateway to Building Habits
I recently met with the President of an Insurance firm. She was altogether fabulous. Beautifully put together, thoughtful, just the right tempo of leaning in and sitting back.
We were speaking about how habits lead to productivity and routines are the gateway to building good habits. To continuously improve, I suggested, it’s helpful to build habits into your routines.
Her initial response was that she didn’t have any routines. She said her demanding schedule required her to be in meetings at 7:00 am one day and 9:00 am the next.
I asked when you arrive at the meeting, do you feel prepared, fired up, and ready to roll? Yes, she said, most days I do! She was clearly lit up at how she must be doing something right.
Like most leaders, she never really thought about it.
That is the beauty of a routine. You don’t have to think about it.
The goal is to imbed new habits into your existing routines
so that they have the best chance of success.
The more aware you are of your routines, the more likely you are to improve them.
Here are three routines to get you started –
Routine #1: Wake up! When the new day is revealing itself to you, it is the first opportunity to “own the day”. “How you do anything is how you do everything”, says Dr. Benjamin Harvey.
Beginning the new day with positive thoughts, healthy actions, and good fuel is the bell weather of how the day will unfold.
Habits to consider: Mindset, Exercise, Health, Wellness, Gratitude
Books that help: Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod, 5 AM Club, Robin Sharma
Routine #2: Start your workday! The first 90 minutes of the workday are essential because that is when your brain is fresh, and your energy is high. (If you’re “not a morning person” consider habits that you could build in #1 so that you prime yourself to get in the groove earlier.)
To start the day, follow the advice of productivity guru Chris Bailey. He says that to get really focused, first, we must “scatter focus”. Get everything that’s in your head out on paper. Then choose the 3 - 5 most important priorities and “hyperfocus” on getting these done.
Hint: Experts declare 3 bold priorities are the right number but as a chronic "to do" lister, I find getting it down to 5 has made a gigantic difference! *Ask me how!
Habits to Consider: Priorities, Skills, Networking, Calling, Breathing
Books that help: First Things First, Steven Covey (still an all-time favorite), Chris Bailey, Hyperfocus.
Routine #3: End Your Workday – When the day is done the tendency is to leave with a mish-mash of thoughts jamming up your brain. Sometimes a single thought can play like a broken record. Why did I say that? Why did he do that? As leaders, we find it hard to end the day in our heads, even when we've physically departed. With Covid and the new work-from-home regime, it’s getting even harder.
Ending your day needs to be symbolic and definite. It will be much more effective if you can wrap up with tomorrow in mind.
Go back to those 3-5 most important priorities and give yourself a checkmark if you got them done. Move what didn't get done to tomorrow - but only move it twice! If you don't get it done after three days, does it stay on the list?
Habits to Consider: Highlights of the day, goals for the next day, gratitude.
Books that Help: Atomic Habits, James Clear, 5 Minute Journal
Thinking of Leadership I want to balance my thoughts about continuous improvement with a word of caution towards perfectionism. In her book, “Ish, The Life Changing Practice of Good Enough” Lynn Cazaly says, that we can do more with less because the extra we put in doesn’t matter. In fact, it can take us down.
“In choosing to push towards perfection I gained nothing,
and nearly lost everything.”
Leaders I Admire - My Best Boss
Mark Quayle was a witty, charismatic, and deeply kind man who mentored me in every sense of the word.
He was an unassuming trailblazer, pioneering cruising in Canada for Princess Cruises.
What stood out for me about Mark was his ability to make room for others. In not seeking the limelight, it shone brightly around him everywhere he went.
He was intensely curious and helped countless travel entrepreneurs get their start in the travel business. I can still feel his presence whenever I start a conversation with deep and genuine curiosity.
I miss our daily, almost uncontrollable laughter. “Life is life and work is work” he would droll in his charming Isle of Man accent. It would be years before I truly understood what that meant.
Who was your best boss?
Can you do something today that would honor them?
Enjoy the journey!
I help leaders connect, engage, and elevate high-performing teams.
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