Free time is synonymous with systems. No, not in traditional sense, rather in a more nuanced way. Most of the leaders I interact with have a day full of things to do. I have had many days where I put my feet on the floor in the morning and it’s a solid push until they retract back into the bed in the evening. But (with one “t”), as leaders it’s important that we have time to think, and to strategize, and to plan. The answer isn’t to wait until life gives us an opportunity to do those things. The answer is to free up some time by creating systems. A system in this sense is any prescribed way of doing a thing. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel each day, we want to capitalize on inventing the wheel once and then get dividends on the idea. Here’s an example of a system for email: we check and respond to email from 0800-0830, then we close the email completely until after lunch. Maybe this is for you maybe not, but it’s a system. When we systematize we can free up some cognitive load and time because we already have a plan for what to do. This, in turn, may help us find a bit more free time to do the other work we get paid to do–thinking, strategizing, and planning.
Future leader speaker and author of the book Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future. Free stuff! Get the first five chapters of my new book, an executive summary, and the Future Leader Companion Workbook here.