Have you ever thought: If I could spend half as much time on half as many things, I would be twice as effective”? Like many of the entrepreneurial leaders we work with, the endless wheel-spinning of urgent but lower-value work distracts and disrupts their ability to focus on their single most valuable contribution to the company. The “I’m just too busy to grow” mindset and feeling of being surrounded by business clutter holds us back from making our ultimate contribution to the world . As leaders, we all have great intentions around our impact and time. There are many adjustments that we can make in our business and our behavior to move out of a reactive space and into proactive growth.
The definition of a good Buffer Day is a day focused in preparation for upcoming Focus Days. True “Buffer” Days are meant to be spent on delegations, putting out fires and working on the business so that when Focus Days come, we have the capabilities in place to truly focus. Without careful planning though, every day can quickly become a Buffer Day, ever creeping into our focus time.
Growth takes a backseat because the majority of time is spent cleaning up urgent messes rather than focusing generating new revenue. A friend of mine refers to this place in business as “Marshmallowland;” a place where time stands still and we operate in a chronic state of trying to move forward, but stuck in a sticky, grabby mess that keeps us immobilized and bouncing around endlessly in our business.
The ability to (1) dream up, (2) create and (3) execute new ideas is the calling of all entrepreneurial leaders. A healthy business operates and grows when the 3 legs of the tripod are in balance. As visionaries, we naturally and bravely bring the ideation, but typically struggle with the other legs: creating a plan for our ideas and committing to a plan fully to execute them. When the three are out of balance, a chronic start-stop dynamic grows between you and your team, and if not managed correctly can lead to team-wide burnout and a total lack of productivity and feelings of progress.