How to Manage Your Schedule When Your Hair is on Fire

Overcommitment is sprinting into oblivion with your hair on fire.

Self-management is less about getting stuff done and more about your relationship with time.


Overcommitment is sprinting into oblivion with your hair on fire.

Effect of overcommitment:

You can’t enjoy leading with a gaggle of tasks honking for attention. Relief is the fullest expression of joy for overcommitted leaders.

Overbooked leaders are riddled with mediocrity.

There’s no time to innovate; no opportunity to develop; and no timeline for improvement when a thousand puppies nip your fingers.

Nagging frustration worms into every situation when obligation exceeds capacity. Even the best of us implode when busyness rots resolve.

How to manage your schedule when your hair is on fire:

#1. Audit your time for a week.

Keep a detailed list of how you use time for a week.

  1. When do you get the most done? Protect and maximize that time.
  2. How many breaks do you need? Schedule them.
  3. What can you stop doing? Trim them.
  4. What are your biggest time wasters. Trash them.

#2. Schedule interruptions.

Walk-around time is perfect for interruptions. Tell people you’ll walk around at 2:00 when they ask, “Got a minute?” (A minute is never a minute.)

Put walk-around time on your calendar.

Some interruptions are opportunities, when the boss shows up, for example.

#3. Skin the cat. (With apologies to cats.)

Spend less time thinking about doing stuff. Action is thinking. You learn by doing. Finish something.

#4. Make an appointment with priorities.

If you’re starting a new initiative, schedule time to work on it for the next six weeks.  

4 ways to get more done in the same amount of time:

  1. Pass the baton. Give tasks to others.
  2. Step on the gas. Get faster at doing what you do.
  3. Take out the trash. Eliminate low value tasks.
  4. Get smart. Become more skillful at essential responsibilities.

Which item above is most relevant for you today?