After spending the past five days in the Big Apple, yesterday I had the opportunity to fly out of LaGuardia Airport.

Admittedly, as expected, the pace of the city was frenetic. Surprisingly, the pace of the airport was even crazier. I’m all for being productive, but there is a limit to how much work I want to do.

While I appreciate the fact that LaGuardia has created an environment where people can get things done, it would have been nice to have had an option. Rather than typical seating outside of each gate, there were endless workstations screaming, “No relaxing allowed.”


As technology advances, the temptation to grant the world (or at least our bosses) total access to our lives becomes a lust that overwhelms most. The question begs, “At what price?”

Can faces buried in screens over candlelight be counted as a date night? Is it possible to have connection without choosing to disconnect?

At some point ‘total accessibility’ will demand payment for its cunning allure. So how does a leader survive in today’s assembly line of access?

Let me encourage you to build into your work the following four habits to help you manage your time.

  • Limit your availability to certain hours of the day. Forty hours a week of being ‘plugged in’ should be plenty for you to be effective. Create 8 hours on your schedule to be available to others and then go dark for the rest of the day. Use airplane mode if needed. If you don’t tell your time where to go, someone else gladly will.
  • Schedule down time and then show up for the appointment. I’m serious. Put it on your iCal and set up a reminder. If your phone doesn’t remind you, you’re likely to forget. Off days should be off days, not days to catch up on the work you didn’t finish while on the clock.
  • Eliminate stuff. Stuff can be anything that causes you stress or distraction. Every week you should de-schedule as much as you reschedule. Perhaps your “stop doing” list needs to be longer than your to-do list. Subtraction = more capacity!
  • Be where you are. Great leaders (and for that matter, great people) are ones who are fully present. They live face to face with others, looking them in the eye, seeking to add value. They do not have their heads glued to a screen 24-7, emotionally unavailable to those they love.

The person in charge of you is you. Lead yourself well when it comes to your productivity and use of time and you will be on your way to greater impact. Especially where it matters most … Home!

Remember, home is where leadership begins …


What other habits can help leaders manage productivity while protecting emotional margin?

Comment below …