To do lists can be as addictive as smoking...

Manage yourself first

When a department, or the entire company are relying on your delegation and support, you may be missing something that is fundamental but not obvious. As a manager you ask others to be accountable, but how do you support yourself to be accountable?

It's a given that management requires accountability, but ask yourself if you or anyone in your business can clearly define it?

You can care and not be accountable, but being accountable requires some level of care, for yourself and for what you're doing. 

Who Cares?

And what does care look like if you do? Consider this: If you aren't making regular time to care for yourself in your life, enjoying meals, taking walks, spending time with friends or your intimate partner, or however that looks for you, then it's slim chances you're carving out space to care for yourself in relationship with work.  Both are connected.

What does caring for yourself at work look like?  

Depending on your role, level of responsibility and oversight, caring can take on many different expressions. You could set aside 15 minutes in the morning to look at your project list and pull prioritized tasks into the day's calendar, or make your lunch break a time when you enjoy the food, and take a few minutes to regroup for the rest of the day.

Ultimately, you have to find out for yourself what works.  

Where do you start?

A lot of business owners are 'results driven', and speeding towards a cliff.

Do you know the details of your day to day actions, specifically? Do you keep them in your to do list? If so, you might be fooling yourself.

All the organizational tools in the world won't help if you don't get honest with what's happening between you and your work, and how that ties into a bigger result. Many of my clients initially report that their efforts to organize and prioritize have landed them back in overwhelm, only to have the tools pile up and go dormant.

To do lists can be more addictive than smoking. It's not helping you get out of the 'doin' it' work if it's not directly linked to a project list of some sort.  And even then, is that connected somehow directly to your goals and vision? Find out if you're simply feeding a technician's fever for busy work and the instant gratification it brings.

Take a few small but important actions.

Identify those distracting conversations that you engage in regularly.  Turn off the email notifications that beckon every few minutes. Challenge the employees to try again when they put their responsibilities back on your desk to handle. Only after you gather the baseline data for what's not working first, can you know what you're up against, and then be able to take the next small steps toward accountability and care.

Small steady steps lead to big change.