In a constantly connected and wired (or wireless WiFi) world, it’s critical that you check your pace.

Do you need to slow it down?

Pings, dings, beeps and notifications all scream for your attention, and we have, to varying degrees, fallen into some type of habit of reacting. I often think of Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and the like as our modern day Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936), the physiologist who discovered classic conditioning by watching a dog salivate when dog food was placed in front of it. Check out Pavlov’s Dog

I’ve been direct about this on many occasions, if you’re not an emergancy room heart surgeon … slow it down. 
Do a self- and device- audit: what devices and technology have you hooked into reacting immediately? Where has Pavlov snuck into your life? 

Once identified, ask yourself, what notifications can you turn off, even if only for out of office / work hours, or throughout the day for blocks of time?

Self-Coaching Reflection Question: 

What do you need to help you shift from reaction to respond?

Give yourself time to think, to analyse, to give yourself a moment to breathe and make the best possible decisions. Middle Managers tell me they make decisions quickly, under pressure, and then often worry if they’ve made the right decisions. You know you’ll often be required to make decisions without having the information you want so it’s important to know you can only make the best of what you’ve got. And you can’t control everything: you won’t be able to gather all the data you need but you can control how you handle your decision making process and approach.

Slowing it down is helped significantly by regaining clarity on the difference between URGENT and IMPORTANT, and let that clarity filter through to your team members. It’s not about dropping in productivity: by slowing down just a bit giving space to think and prioritise will have a positive impact on productivity. It’s about doing the right tasks, at the right time, for the right outcome!

What pace do you run at and what message does this send to your team members?

When a team member brings a perceived urgent matter to you, do you get caught up in the emotion of the message delivery or can you help them slow down and assess the urgency versus importance of the matter? [It’s not about ignoring a truly urgent matter, but being able to discern the difference.]

The ‘important urgent matrix’, designed by Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, who was an American military officer and 34th president of the United States, and made famous by productivity expert Stephen Covey, is worth reviewing:  

Urgent and important: you don’t need motivating, the adrenalin will drive this. Do it NOW!

Urgent and Not Important: often thought of as someone else’s urgent. Delegate – asking who’s the best person to handle this?

Not Important and Not Urgent: Activities that need to be limited or eliminated.

Important and Not Urgent: Aim to hang out here the most! This is where you can do your best work: decide and then execute in a prioritised manner.

What do you need to help you have the pace, space and grace to be an even more effective leader?

I appreciate you