In an exempt (or salaried) role, you are not expected to perform your daily tasks on an hourly basis. Instead, you are allowed the freedom and flexibility to work on whatever you choose ... as long as all the work gets done within the timeframe allowed. Even though we would all like to believe that we would thrive in this kind of open environment, the harsh reality is that some people just do not have the skills to self-manage and ensure the work gets done.
I have recently begun to realize that effective planning is the key to success in an exempt role. At my work we refer to this step as "Planning For Possible Outcomes" but ultimately it boils down to one thing: a sense of urgency. Learning to create my own sense of urgency has enabled me to get things done on a regular basis and avoid the I'm so behind, I'll never catch up, there's too much to do feeling that many leaders often experience. For those who would say "But Josh, you always say 'there's so much to do.' Doesn;t that make you a liar or a hypocrite?" My response is NO. Because I am not behind on another person's timeline ... I am only behind on my timeline.
This may seem silly to you, but consider your own school experience. When did you work hardest on a paper that you had two weeks to write? Did you portion the work out a little each day? Or did you cram it all in the last few days before it came due? My guess is the latter describes most of us. All I am doing is setting a deadline or goal to complete tasks earlier than the actual deadline. And then I break the big items or projects into smaller portions, and set deadlines for myself on those as well. Sure it takes time, but in the end I get a LOT of things done and maintain a healthy level of stress.
Song Of The Day:
A friend of mine first introduced me to The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?" in the late 80's, which is interesting to note because most folks only know the song because of the TV series Charmed. I like this choice of song for today's post because now is however soon you make it (in the sense of planning ahead that is). It's okay if that doesn't make sense to you. It does to me. Enjoy the song.