Thinking Higher Than Tasks

The more I am with leaders the more I realize that people are decidedly driven by the tasks in their world rather than driving them.

  • Last week I talked with a leader who was worn down because he didn’t have time to think strategically due to the many meetings he had on his calendar.
  • I know of a leader of consulting firm who is so busy consulting that he is not getting the time to consult his own firm.
  • Just yesterday I talked with a wife and husband who are trying to manage the volume of tasks that come from having three teenagers and two full time jobs.

I get it. To do lists and client needs and kid duties and paying bills are all necessities. What I don’t get is the inability of most humans to lead these activities versus being led by them.

There are so many people that I run in to that are so much busier than I am and yet have much lower responsibilities than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I am busy and most who know me are always wondering how I get things done, etc. My learned reality is that I have been managing activities in my mind much better than in the past.

Work/Life balance is not about time, but rather mindset. When we get in the right mindset for the appropriate task then we can manage ourselves and those around us much more consistently.

For those who have read the 5 Gears you know what I am saying. You can manage being present and productive at the same time. Managing your tasks require a system to manage the mind. Once that occurs then you can handle so much more than you ever thought possible.

Here are 4 things you can do to Think Higher Than Tasks:

1. Incorporate the 5 Gears into your vocabulary so that you know what gear you should be in at the appropriate time in order to shift more effectively. (

2. Create start and stop times on your calendar. Many people exaggerate their to do lists and or mismanage the time to do them. I find that when I don’t want to do something it just lingers in my mind. Instead, block off time in 5th Gear to finish the tasks that you don’t want to do.

3. Think one step higher about where you want to go. Does this task really need to be done by you, right now? What are you trying to accomplish, etc? Strategy is having a higher view so that you can see where you want to go, tactics are doing the things right in front of you.

4. Take the last 30 minutes of your day and celebrate what you accomplished. Make the list for tomorrow today, but also give a high five as you knocked out many things. Then ask yourself, “how did doing this help me or us?”

Don’t let tasks rob you of life. Instead, prioritize life over tasks. You can get things done without getting overwhelmed by those very things. It simply takes a system and some language that the 5 Gears can provide.

Practice being present and productive and watch your life go from accidental to intentional.

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