Have you ever correlated "busy-ness" with a diminished, or even lack of, strategic thinking?
I love this GIF of Spongebob Squarepants miraculously sprouting an extra 3 limbs to support all the work he needs to accomplish. It's funny and relatable- not that I'm vacuuming with my foot whilst flipping a pancake- but because that's often the mental state of cHaOs (yes, really, I typed it like that) it can sometimes feel like when I'm frantically switching between the 57 tabs I've got open, or making my To-do list for the day whilst getting started on the first item.
Strategy is recognised as one of the essential leadership qualities of Executives, and yet it often falls on the wayside when pitched against all the little tasks during the day. That's because that sort of critical thinking requires something that's quite the scarcity these days- space.
No wonder strategic thinking is one of the first things to be struck out when it seems there are more 'pressing' things at hand to be done. When you spend time away from your desk to go for a brisk walk, or stare into space, or write things slowly in a notebook, it can feel (and sometimes, look) like you're wasting time and precious company dollars. But it has never been more essential to give yourself a bit of that mental space to clarify, again, "Why are we doing this?" and "How do we want things to be?" and finally, "How do we get there?"
Because Executives without the bandwidth to ponder and sketch and draft are robbing themselves and their organisations of something very important: strong, strategic leadership.
We at PMLogic like that this Harvard Business Review article speaks compassionately about the reality of the demands at work, and some ways the author Dorie Clark has navigated it. Give it a read to see more practical steps on how to make time for what's important!