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Hard vs. Soft in Your Daily Schedule

Posted April 12, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder
Hard soft

The last few weeks, I’ve admittedly felt like I don’t have control of my own schedule. I have meetings, meetings, meetings, travel, travel, and more travel, and it’s becoming harder and harder to get things done in the meantime. Enter “3 Ways Great Leaders Make Every Day Count” on Inc. from Les McKeown, author of Predictable Success.

McKeown suggests looking at your schedule in areas of both hard landscapes and soft. Here’s why:

Balance hard and soft landscape in your schedule. Hard landscape items (scheduled meetings, calls and other time-specific events) are to leadership what systems and processes are in organizations. They are necessary to ensure the delivery of consistent quality in the face of complexity–but death to creativity, flexibility and innovation when overdone.

In my observation, once your calendar has more than 60 percent of its time blocked out for hard landscape activities, your ability to lead strategically begins to erode. By the time calls, meetings and other scheduled activities hit 80 percent of your reasonably available time, the chances of you leading at all are close to zero–you have effectively become a manager.

Review your calendar for the next two weeks: What can you drop, defer or delegate to make time for “soft” activities, like a strategic review of the next (or last) quarter, or an impromptu discussion with a key colleague–or a visit to a key customer?

I’m definitely implementing less hard activities and making room for soft ones in my schedule from here on out. How about you?



About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."