This is the first issue of my newsletter, and I truly appreciate your interest as an early subscriber. I’m still finding my feet and working out how best to prepare and structure new content, so please have a look around and tell me what you think.
Some of you may know that I used to write the Leadership Thoughts blog. Unfortunately, work made it a bit tricky for me to share my thoughts in writing, so I had to discontinue using that platform. But now I’m back! With this newsletter, I aim to start building a small community, and I am delighted to have you onboard.
But before we jump in, let me tell you a little about myself… last year, I decided to quit full-time employment and do something entirely different. Today I spend most of my time between a new start up business, the Lazy Leader and leisure.
This was possible because I had a plan and stuck to it.
What to expect from the Lazy Leader blog
Until now, I mostly wrote about leadership development, teamwork and business change. Going forward, I aim to advocate the use of a lazy approach at work to help achieve a better balance with personal life. This is called productive laziness.
This isn’t the kind of laziness that leads to wasting time or slacking off, but one that seeks creative solutions to achieve something with the least amount of effort.
It is my hope that the Lazy Leader blog will give you a head start at the various stages in your career, so you may focus on what really matters to you. I would like to share my knowledge to the next generation of leaders, to help you get ahead and work smarter to live better.
There’s one final point I want to make before I move on. Being a lazy leader is also about using our intelligence to make difficult choices to make positive changes for ourselves, our employer and our colleagues.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new website and newsletter. I was hesitating about launching because I am not done yet, as there are a few things that need ironing out on the website. Only I thought it’s now or never. So please do tell me what you think and start sharing if you like what you read.
For many, the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on work-life balance. In 2020, as the UK went into a national lockdown, I, like many people, started to work from home.
At first (Wave 1, April 2020), this was great: I had time to do the weekly shopping and some daily exercise. Though the working day was longer, it was more flexible with opportunity for varied starts and longer breaks.
However, by September (Wave 2, 2020), it was an entirely different situation. I was putting in significantly longer hours than before the pandemic. On many occasions, I never left my study, except for comfort breaks, for twelve or more hours.
Unfortunately, this is commonplace nowadays in the UK, Europe and the USA. For instance, UK employees log in for an average of 11 hours a day now, which is up from 9 hours pre-pandemic. Not only that, more than half of us feel we have to be available at all times.
Home working presents huge challenges to employees, with increased workloads and our jobs becoming ever more blurred with home life. The effects of this can have a serious impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
By the end of 2020 I was exhausted. My body and mind were tired, and I knew it was time for me to step off the workplace treadmill.
Ways to work smarter not longer
If a career change wasn’t an option, I would have had to find time to pause and reflect on how things were going, so I could take back control.
These are the three things I’d have pondered:
- Why were we less effective than pre-pandemic?
- What happened to the wriggle-room?
- What can be done about it?
So, let’s consider each point in turn.
Pre-pandemic, most decision makers used effective delegation to achieve a goal or to acquire knowledge for decision-making. They were on top of what was going on, and they trusted people to do their jobs.