Exciting times here at Transforming Performance Towers (OK I made it up… there is no such place) – but seriously – the Hutchison family moved house this week. And apart from being fun and stressful, tiring and exciting, all at the same time, what has also been interesting, is to realise how much stuff we have that we really don’t need and never did. We were carrying around a load of old junk!
Being a bit busy work-wise at the moment, the packing started well, and then at the last minute with boxes still to pack – everything got thrown in. And when I was unpacking one of those last minute boxes today I found a plethora of “interesting” items. For example – there was an old sling, kept from when my son had an injury to his arm (I’m trying to think why I kept it? Sentimental reasons?). There was an empty bottle of sun lotion. Oh My!! And – fantastic find – a pair of rubber gloves……with a hole in them!!
All of this stuff – along with a load of other useless stuff – went in the bin. And it made me wonder what I carried it from one house to the next for. The answer is, of course, that I didn’t (for whatever reason) deal with it all at the time. Which brings me to my question for you, which is….
What are you carrying around that you just need to deal with?
Because the thing is – as a Leader – you need to deal with stuff. If you don’t deal with it, and you just put your old junk away in your metaphorical attic, to deal with another day, then it just festers and rots and becomes so much nastier to deal with.
This relates to both physical stuff, psychological stuff and other people’s stuff. So here is what to do about all those 3.
1.Physical Stuff. Deal with things once. This mostly relates to paperwork / letters and emails. When a new email / a new request or a new bit of paperwork comes your way, deal with it (or get someone else to deal with it). If you are going to keep something for ‘future reference’ then reference it. File it somewhere you WILL be able to find it again and get it off your desk. The go through that filing cabinet once every 6 months or a year and bin everything you haven’t used or referred to that you kept ‘just in case’.
2.Your own ‘stuff’. There are times when we all have things that prey on our minds. But as my mentor always says to me – either you can do something about it or you can’t. If you can do something – then stop thinking and DO IT. And if you can’t do something about what is worrying you then STOP worrying and move on. Don’t clutter your own head space up with stuff that you can do nothing about.
3.Other people’s stuff. My honest opinion on this one is – give it back to them. However, I accept that sometimes your job as a leader is to deal with OPS (Other People’s Stuff). In which case – you need to get on with it a deal with it. Leaving problems is rarely a good option. The exception might be where you have a colleague dumping on you – what I mean by that is – you KNOW they are capable of dealing with it but, for whatever reason, they don’t want to. In this case, you might say something like – “well – I’d like to help but I may not have time to get around to this”. And then make sure you don’t ‘get around to it’. You may find that the person will go away and do it themselves or it suddenly becomes less important to them and it doesn’t get done. In either case, you haven’t had to do it.
If it is a member of staff with a problem then you will have to deal with it or help them deal with it. Because leaving stuff that is a real problem does not make it go away, and it just gets bigger and takes up more of your time and mental and physical energy.
So, my message this week is – deal with your old junk. Deal with it straight away. Stop dragging it around with you. If you need any help with this – then register for my complimentary webinar on March 23rd, at midday, entitled “Putting Your Own Oxygen Mask on First” which covers a few areas essential for all leaders, including dealing with your stuff. IN fact, the less stuff you have hanging around – the less you need an oxygen mask anyway! Click here to book your place on this complimentary webinar.