Ask Samuel: How can I accomplish more and firefight less?

Dear Samuel,

I have been reading your blogs and been following your advice. I have laid out my Vision as to what I want to accomplish as CFO, identified the relationships I need to build, and prepared an action plan to accomplish my objectives. I have also started delegating more of my work to my team, and have implemented a development plan to make my team more effective.

Yet I still feel that overwhelmed.

How can I accomplish more and firefight less?

Overwhelmed in Overland

Dear Overwhelmed,

First of all, I want you to look in the mirror and congratulate yourself. You have accomplished a lot on the road to becoming a Better CFO.

I brought your question to the members of the CFO Lounge, a LinkedIn Group where CFOs like yourself can feel comfortable discussing concerns with peers in a relaxed environment. You can find out more about the CFO Lounge in my previous blog post – The Lonely CFO. I invite you to join the CFO Lounge to read what your peers had to say about your challenge.

You have done so much to move yourself forward. While you have done a lot to move yourself forward, I believe you could benefit from planning your days. Just like you’ve prepared an action plan, you need to plan your daily schedule. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Just because you’ve prepared a schedule, doesn’t mean that you cannot change it as needed. But before you do, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does this need to be in my schedule?

2) Does it need to be done by me? (Can someone else do it?)

3) Does it need to be done now?

Many times we are attracted to do the ‘easy’ work – when we look back at the end of the day we can say that we have accomplished. While you may have accomplished a number of (lower level) tasks, you may not have accomplished what you needed to. This is when your frustration will kick in.

Avoid frustration by spending time planning your day and your week. Block off the time to get things accomplished. If email or phone calls distract you, close your email and turn the ringer off on your phone (all your phones).

You have control over what you can accomplish. You need to take control of your work, rather than letting it take control of you.

Good luck,


If you’d like to ask Samuel a question, click here.

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