Seems like everyone I’m speaking with these days is having difficulty managing their time. Never seems like there are enough hours in the day to complete even the most basic of tasks let alone the key initiatives that the organization is relying upon you to perform. Even when we finally start feeling on top of our work- BAM- we are blind-sided by yet another task or problem to be solved. Does this sound familiar?
Many of these challenges seem to stem from the idea known as the “open door policy.” I completely understand the intention of this noble concept is to let your teams and co-workers know that you are available for help and support. The impact, however, is endless distractions, pop-ins, do you have a quick second, and much more. The net result is finding yourself over-stressed, overloaded, and overwhelmed by the amount of work that you are NOT getting completed and a team that has grown 100% reliant upon you making every and all decisions.
The good news is that if you’ve found yourself in this predicament you probably created it all by yourself so you can un-create it. The bad news is you are going to have to learn a concept that is probably extremely foreign to you… Be LESS available!
That’s right be less available. You see, the dilemma you have wandered into is that you’ve made yourself available for all things all the time. In doing so you have placed very little value on your time. Because of this perceived “low value” your team and others have gotten extremely comfortable coming to you not only for the big challenges that face the company, but also for the menial, little problems that they are well suited to handle all by themselves.
In your quest for be available and support them with your valiant “open door policy” you have created an unproductive, unthinking, & unengaged team. As I said earlier since you created this problem you can uncreate it. Here’s how.
Replace your “Open Door” policy with a “Velvet Rope” policy.
Back in the 70’s there was a dance club in New York City called Studio 54. It was the hottest new club to hit the scene in years. Every night, hundreds of people crowded around the entrance of the bar which was guarded by a red velvet rope and 3 huge bouncers. Only those that were hand selected by the club owner or the bouncers were allowed to gain entry to what lay behind the Velvet Rope. Sometimes even famous actors and musicians were made to wait outside.
By making entry into the club so difficult, the owners put a high premium on those selected to go inside. If you weren’t selected, you simply had to wait or come back another time.
The interesting part of all this is that even if the club was empty on the inside, the Velvet Rope and bouncers were still in place, picking and choosing those they felt were worthy to gain access to what was on the other side of the rope. In doing so they never cheapened the value of brand.
If you want to gain control of your day start valuing your time because if you don’t, nobody else will. Create your own velvet rope policy. Start blocking out time to do your own work, push others into time blocks that work for you, not for them. Sometimes they will have to wait, sometimes they may have to come back another day. The point is even when you are not busy-you are busy, otherwise you are cheapening your personal brand and devaluing your time.
One of the amazing by-products of being Less available is that your team members will start solving some of these problems on their own. Amazingly, they will start stepping up to challenges instead of deferring to you, and as a result start being much more engaged in the over-all success of the organization. Because you are not fixing and solving everything for them but rather doing just the opposite- not micro-managing every task and allowing them to fix and solve on their own. Your team will start respecting you even more and be willing to go the extra mile for you.
Remember people work for people not for companies. How I feel about my direct supervisor goes a long way towards how much of myself I’m willing to give to my work. By being less available you have made your time much more valuable and your teams will appreciate the time you now give them to solve the big, important tasks that can give your company the advantage needed to be successful.
It all starts with your own personal Velvet Rope Policy- Be less available for a few weeks and watch yourself and your team’s productivity soar!
What impact is my “open door policy” having on my team- & myself?
Are we more or less productive as a result of my being available all the time? Why?
How am I de-valuing my time?
What strategies can I employ to start carving out time in my days for my work?
Where will I use a velvet rope policy to work with my team on my time?
Thoughts for the week:
Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. –M Scott Peck
Time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing. –Miles Davis
It’s not enough to be busy, the question is, what are we busy about? –Henry David Thoreau
A year from now you’ll wish you had started today. -Karen Lamb
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. -Stephen Covey
You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t, others decide it for you. -Tony Morgan
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future. -Steve Miller
Looking forward to our next connection