We all came out of lockdown wanting to set our own pace, then we slipped right back to how things were.

In my first blog, in this three-part series, I talked about burnout and defining your one thing. In this post, I’m talking about the struggle to regain some control of our pace and routines.

While we were in lockdown we regained a bit of control over our lives, and we didn’t want to lose it. Those in leadership never worked harder to keep our businesses afloat, but we also made time for the things that mattered most.

I’ve met a few people that have managed to change a few things along the way, this is what it’s looking like for me.

Work

Most people I know say they’re most productive in the morning.

It’s certainly true for me, I start to lose focus in the afternoons.

The problem is we typically fill our mornings with meetings. We fill the best part of our day with team and committee meetings that are quite often non-productive.

What I’ve done is only allow super productive meetings in the morning. And then, only meetings that are closely aligned with my one thing.

It’s meant I’ve had to move my meetings. That requires a team effort and it’s been hard to do, but I’ve slowly pushed all my other catch-up’s and discussions and one-on-ones to the afternoon. My mornings are now one hundred per cent focused on what I do best and when I’m at my best.

Sound impossible to do…it’s totally worth the effort.

Walk

I need exercise, most people describe the endorphin hit they get from exercise, for me it’s much more essential. My mental health is dependant on movement.

Many leaders sit down all day and spend their lives on their butt’s. Going to a gym is a great idea but takes so much effort and that’s even if you like the idea of sweating it up on sweaty equipment.

My wife and I took a week off work last year at an Airbnb a few minutes drive out of a small town. My wife dragged me along with her on a walk into town every day. Until that moment I never considered walking exercise. Turns out I was wrong. Going to the gym takes a special effort. Going for a walk simply involves pitting some walking shoes on and stepping out the door.

I’ve kept that routine up and block out time in my diary in the middle of my day and simply go for a walk. I aim for a 5 k walk most work day’s. I’ve lost a lot of weight and have never felt better.

Sound easy? Na, I’ve had to block that time out in my diary and my team have had to get used to the idea that I’m not available. I’ve had to buy decent walking shoes that don’t hurt my body and I’ve needed to find my place to walk. For you, it might be up your street or up and down the stairs in your high-rise building. For me it’s a local walk 2 minutes from work.

Don’t have time? I bet your productivity increases and you find you have more time!

Meet

All of what I define as my non-productive meetings are now in the afternoon. For me, this means they are not highly aligned to my one thing. If it’s just a catch-up or a discussion, or even my team one-on-ones, they are all now in my afternoon.

I still make space for early meetings with my mentors or peers that I’m doing life with and also have a quiet time each morning. It means I’m up pretty early, but it makes for an incredibly productive day, whilst getting more done in the morning and having time for a walk means my life actually feels slower and more in control.

blankMike Edwards – CEO Flare Fires, Founder Hāpai Whanau

I normally don’t post on this type of topic. I hope it’s helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed, that’s a sure sign things need to change. Any questions on how I’ve implemented these changes, just yell out. You can email me here.