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Updated 30 Sep 2020

Effective leadership starts with clarity of focus

If your goal is to be an effective leader who is fulfilled both personally and professionally, you need to cultivate habits that support this aim. 

Nadine Todd, 27 May 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

As a business leader, are you determined to put all of your time and energy into your business, to the detriment of your personal and family life? Perhaps you value your personal time – this might even be one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place – and yet you can’t seem to find a good work/life balance.

If that’s the case, we have a secret to share: There’s no such thing as work/life balance. It’s a myth. That said, it’s also bad for you and your business to work yourself to a point where you are sleep-deprived, over-stressed and about to burn out. You are no use to your clients, employees and business in that state.

Business ownership is stressful, time-consuming and all-encompassing. Truly effective leaders are able to balance their personal and professional lives though, enabling them to give better time and focus to each task at hand.

Effective leaders are able to step away from their businesses. They have systems and processes in place that function without their involvement. Leaders are leaders – they are not managers. If your business cannot function without you, you are not building an asset of value that you can one day sell.

With that in mind, consider these three tips to opening some time in your diary, achieving clarity of focus to put more energy and quality ‘thought’ time into your business strategy, and dividing your time between your business and your personal life in a more fulfilling way.

1. Be present.When you’re at work, be at work.

When you’re at home, be at home. This doesn’t mean you can’t work in the evenings; it means that when you’re with your children, spouse or friends, you should be spending quality time with them, and not answering emails at the same time.

Avoid dividing your attention, because you’ll just find your mind constantly trying to complete unfinished threads. If you can’t solve a problem, move on. Focus on what’s in front of you in that moment. This level of attention will dramatically improve your efficiency and effectiveness in business, and ensure that you are fulfilled on a personal level as well.

Related: Things every business owner should keep doing, stop doing and start doing

2. Understand your own rhythms.

Not everyone has the same rhythm, but we are most productive when we understand our personal needs, develop a programme and habits to follow, and then stick with them. Cultivating the right habits that suit your personal rhythm is an essential building block for getting more done in less time – which naturally opens up time for other important things.

For example, Tim Ferriss author ofThe 4 Day Work Week, has a very strict morning routine that he follows religiously. He makes his bed, meditates, hangs from his arms for a few minutes to decompress his spine, makes himself some herbal tea and then writes in his diary. What the routineisisn’t important; what’s important is that he has found a routine that works for him. Through these rituals, he focuses his mind and maximises his day.

Tony Robbins is the same. He also has a set ritual. Part of that ritual is spending time each morning on feeling grateful. He picks three things that he’s grateful for: Something simple, something personal, and something bigger than himself. He believes that fear and feeling grateful can’t occupy the same space, and so when you focus on feeling grateful, you naturally have a good day. Some people go to gym, others meditate, others spend time catching up on current affairs. What they all have in common is the fact that they’ve carved out some quiet time, just for themselves, before their day begins. This allows them to get into the right head space, which in turn creates the best possible opportunity for a successful day.

Related: Are you under-leading and over-managing?

3. Accept that success means doing the hard stuff.

Procrastination is the enemy of success, efficiency, and spending your time where it’s most important. If you’re avoiding the tough tasks, you’ll never have the mental or physical freedom to spend time on the important things, both in business and your personal life. The reality is that truly successful business leaders are getting up earlier than anyone else, and putting time and energy into personal improvement. They read more than their peers, focus on personal development, their health and cultivating the right habits. It’s not easy, but it is effective.

To be a better leader who is fulfilled on a professional and personal level, start cultivating these habits now.


  1. Start tracking your rhythms. What habits and routines do you need to cultivate to get the most from each day?
  2. What are your biggest stressors in business and your personal life? How can these be mitigated?
  3. Have you created quiet, ‘you’ time to devote to strategic thinking?
  4. Have you created enough personal time to off-set the rigours of business ownership?
  5. Most importantly, can your business operate without you?


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About the author

Nadine Todd

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