Crunch-time Management for Leaders: Permission to Delay

Leaders are always fairly busy. That’s okay – if we really truly finished our entire to-do list by the end of the day, we probably aren’t stretching enough.

In previous posts, we’ve explored some time/task management ideas for busy leaders in normally busy times, and in overly busy times.

In a personal post that I sometimes recycle, I shared my priorities when things get hectic; you may have even noticed I didn’t blog last week. (That’s only the 3rd time in the last 3 years, I think, that I’ve skipped a week.)

It’s true that I’m currently wrapping up a couple big projects, planning a new major project, and have some team-building and leadership training work coming up over the next couple of weeks in Florida. It’s also true that in the last couple of months, there has been much extra work on changing my business to a corporation, adding staff, and moving to (and fixing up) a new house.

So – even some of the pointers and priorities I referred to above haven’t helped, and I had to move to an additional strategy:

Permission to delay.

I’ve advocated the discipline of sticking to a value-based priority system to stay on track, and staying accountable by meeting deadlines, and even giving yourself deadlines. But sometimes, if you KNOW you can’t get it all done – try this method of staying sane:

Look at everything you have to do, and select 1, 2 or 3 time-consuming deliverables that you can put off if you get permission from the folks or person you have to deliver it to. Then, ask permission to delay. It can be as simple as this (actual email I sent last Friday):

12 items remain on today’s to-do list.
If I wait until Tuesday to get your Letter of Agreement, will that be okay?
You can say “no.” But if you say “yes,” my day improves!

It helps that I have a great relationship with S——, as you can see by my familiar email – make sure YOUR permission request has your voice and is appropriate to your relationship.

Stuck? Overwhelmed? Try “permission to delay”

S——-‘s generosity bought me 3 precious hours, allowing me to get several things done that I couldn’t delay.

Thanks, S!

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