In today´s super stressful and hectic world, and for this there is a perfect term to describe it: VUCA World, we need some kind of rituals which helps us to “survive” our daily business life. We live in a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. You will find more details on this term (for me a very strong word) in my next blog post about collective leadership.
When I started 2,5 years ago at Microsoft, after my Master graduation, I jumped in a crazy, always changing business environment with a lot of challenges, but also a lot of chances to grow. As a super motivated new hire, you tend to overwhelm yourself by trying to do “everything” and never say no to anything. And this was definitely one of the most important lessons-learned I made: Prioritization & Focusing on the most important things that have the biggest impact and value. I know it sounds simple, but you tend to get lost in this “business jungle”. And it’s not only a recommendation for new hires and people who are new in a job and want to prove themselves, but I also saw a lot of people in my environment working for years in the same field but not made it manage it to prioritize and focus.

In this article, I want to share with you 3 simple things, which I learned from my mentor, who is a super successful leader. The guy has responsibility for hundreds of employees and a huge revenue target, but nevertheless, he is so in balance with his body and mind and always in a good mood. I love his positive energy and I never saw him in a bad mood or pessimistic. I was always wondering how he is doing this. I mean in my position I have definitely not so much pressure in this company as him, and in the past, I had so many days where I felt totally revised and the feeling that everything is too much and I can’t do this and that. I always asked myself, what is the secret of these people like my mentor. And actually, it´s pretty simple 🙂

Of course, to achieve this attitude and this way of thinking and acting it´s more than the 3 tips I will give you, but at least it´s a beginning and it depends on how you use it an implement it in your life.

Green or Red? – Sort out the reds, you don’t need them!

So the first tip, he gave me is the sort out of the meetings/calls/blockers, etc. in your calendar before the next business week starts. And this in a simple way: you have two colors – green & red. Green stands for positive energy and the red for negative. You go through your calendar and mark the “time blockers” in green or red.

  • Is it a meeting or call which helps you to go further, get new insights, have a value for you?
  • Is your attendance really required?
  • Do other people get new information from you and do they really need you in this meeting/call?

If you can answer yes – then this time blocker is definitely a green candidate and you can have a good conscience by attending this meeting because you know it´s worth it.
But if you have more of the no answers, than you really should think about if it´s really worth it to use your time for it. I know especially at the beginning of my career at Microsoft I was not sure if I can cancel a meeting/call, I was invited to. But you have to make this decision by thinking about the questions I listed above, and not asking yourself: Can I really do it? What will other people think about me if I will not attend? Can I allow myself to do it? – Yes, you can allow yourself, because you have prioritized your time in a more valuable way.

And don´t be afraid to do it! Believe me, you will feel much better and relieved after using this “method”. You will be more efficient and you will have more time for the (for you!) important things, which will bring you further.

Your personal Jour Fix with yourself

Start your business week, with something that brings you positive energy. Make a regular blocker (1-2hours) on Monday, ideally before the business starts in the morning, for something which brings you in a good mood. You also have your fixed team meetings and jour fixe with your colleagues. Why not making a jour fixe for yourself? We always tend to be more responsible when it comes to other people at work, but we have to do it also for ourselves. So don´t cancel or move your jour fixe, if it is not really a supercritical situation. This regular blocker is the time where you gather new positive energy and do what you love.

So for example, I often use this timeframe to start the Monday morning meeting with one of my best friends for a coffee and breakfast. Only this 1 or 2 hours, brings me in such a good mood, that I can go with a super positive attitude to work and jump into my daily business life. Or you use this time for yourself: listen to your favorite music or an interesting podcast, by walking through a park. It´s your time! Do what is best for you and start your week right 🙂

The magic 5%

Take at least 5% of every day for yourself! The day has 1440 minutes – if we break it down to 5% we still have 72 minutes. I know so many business people, who are working day and night every day and when you ask them after a super long day in the office which plans they have for today’s evening: it´s often grabbing something to eat and finishing the presentation for tomorrow.

Are you not worth yourself at least 5% of the day guys? Don´t get me wrong, I also had phases in life where I was working the whole day – and weeks by not taking time for me. But that was wrong – I was also not in balanced, in a bad mood, felt totally in stress and asked myself what I am actually doing and if this is the sense of my life^^ I know there are sometimes situations in business, where we have more tasks to do, you feel more pressure and there are high expectations from third parties. But especially in this kind of situations you need the time to breathe out and relax. Doing something that brings you positive energy. And 5% a day – which is more than 1 our in a day – I mean you should read it now with a smile on your face – this is really realistic to do!


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