Is your team/organization overloaded with many priorities and conflicting activities? Does your team/organization load new projects and goals on top of existing workloads without rigorous “stop doing” pruning to make room for them?

These are the two biggest problems emerging over the last few months of work with our Strategic Use of Time Assessment. The survey asks 14 questions covering 7 deadly time traps. Hundreds of leaders have taken the survey online (click here to access it) or in CEO Forums where I’ve facilitated discussions on Leveraging Leadership Time.

After tallying scores for all questions, the average total has participants in the category of “Time is Slipping Away – you’re getting sucked into daily busyness and not investing your time strategically.”

In today’s highly reactive and crazy busy world it’s way too easy to allow the daily deluge coming at us — e-mails, meetings, problems, or phone calls — to control our time. This sucks us into playing trivial pursuit. That sets up a stress spiral; we’re not using our time strategically so we have more fires to fight which means we have less focus on leveraging our time which means we have even more fires to fight and we’re even less strategic….. So our days spin ever more wildly as we chase our tail in faster and faster circles.

Does your team regularly take time away from daily operations to reflect and refocus? Does your team periodically ask what we should keep doing, stop doing, and start doing/do more to increase our effectiveness?

These two questions are from the second biggest problem identified in our time assessment. They describe the time trap of working “in” versus “on” the team. As our organizations spin ever more quickly, many teams allow their priorities to be badly distorted. Things that matter most — team dynamics, touchy moose-on-the-table issues, key priorities — are often crowded out by things that matter least — crisis du jour or technical problems better solved by those closest to the action — and the team spins round and round.

Our time assessment and discussions are part of a new two-day workshop I am designing. The Leading Edge: Transforming Team and Culture Performance session draws from and condenses thousands of keynotes, workshops, and retreats we’ve delivered across a wide range of industries and organizations. Google leadership and culture or search Amazon for books on these topics and you’ll be overwhelmed by theories, “secrets,” 7, 10, or 12 steps, personal experiences, fables, and such. But the big question is what works — based on evidence and practicality. This two-day workshop is designed to update, consolidate, and translate proven principals into action. And it’s right here in the center of the universe; my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario! Click here for more details.

Is it time for you and your team to take back your time?