This year, I have set some inspiring, yet challenging, goals and initiatives for my business and myself. I am moving into new territory with my team and I have worked the last four weekends. I fluctuate between two places in my thinking about working on weekends. On one hand, Sundays are completely my own. I can create the day however I want it to be. I really care about the work that I’m doing, so I often save the really important things to do on Sunday. On those weekend days, I find I have the time and space to be really creative. Well at least that is the story I have been holding.
Whenever we as leaders are moving up a level with our team or our own vision for the work, we are bringing something new into an existing system. When something new is added, it creates tension in the system. So the question then is, how to create the space for the creativity needed for leadership AND to intervene effectively in the system? One answer might be to have your team support you and take on other tasks, however if something needs to be finished over a tight timeline and it runs into the weekend, then what do you do? Do you change the delivery framework? Do you ask someone else to work on the weekend? Sometimes you just have to do the work – and that brings me to my other place on this question. Where do I need to challenge my story? What about the impact on my health and wellbeing?
Leaders often create the illusion that we are immune to burnout and the reality of course, is that we are not. We also get overwhelmed, tired and resentful if our leadership is at the cost of our health, personal lives, relationships and creative expression. So it’s up to me to create the space I need, while keeping these other responsibilities in mind. It might mean a new schedule where I take off a day – or more – during the week. Many of my clients spend days away from the office during the week, doing Board duties, attending conferences, travelling overseas or interstate – and they find that this unstructured time while they are waiting in airports, in cafes waiting for their next meeting, or flying gives them the space to explore creative ideas.
As leaders, part of our job is to spend time in a creative space and if we are denying that or making it a rare thing, how effective are we in serving our people, let alone ourselves? When did you last work on a weekend and how did you feel about it? Did you feel good, creative, energised and in flow? Or did you feel put upon because your health and wellbeing was being ignored? What are your stories about working weekends? Are they honouring you or are they wearing you out? How do you balance being a leader with your own wellbeing needs?
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