As a leader, it is challenging to carve out time to get any solo work done or even gather your thoughts. We spend a lot of time in meetings and planning how we’re going to spend our work time to accomplish objectives. There are larger group meetings, one-on-one’s with team members, conference calls, personal e-mail time, and personal work time, to name a few. Team exercises and meetings are crucial for continuous alignment with the team, so that everyone is clear on what the priorities and objectives are, how they will be accomplished, who is working on what components, and tracking progress. However, how you use your alone time as a leader is equally, if not more, important. Why? Because your solo time is the foundation for designing the vision and work toward the team objectives. It is when you hone in on what truly needs to be accomplished, consistently create conditions for success, and develop new ideas for continuous improvement. Awake Leadership contains a balanced mix of individual and team exercises. This post highlights some of the key individual exercises in Awake Leadership and the importance of solo time – no matter your role on the team.

Plan the Work before Working the Plan

The first section of Awake Leadership, the Vision section, is all about designing your mission and vision. If you, as a leader, are not clear on the larger vision and vision for the week before beginning team meetings or project meetings, the team will be misaligned. Spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at the beginning and end of the week (or daily) coming back to your mission and vision. Ask how your tasks and the tasks of your team today are means for progressing toward that vision.

Cultivate Conditions for Success

We often get so busy at work that we forget to consistently cultivate the conditions for success. This starts with cultivating conditions for our own success, which include designing our work environment and schedule to set us up for executing the work. Especially when there is a period of a month or a quarter where it seems like there’s no down time, that is when pausing to reflect on what conditions you are creating for yourself at work each day. In the Support section of Awake Leadership, we focus on a few specific aspects to hone in on what you can transform to create the conditions for more efficiency and ease on your day-to-day work.

Seek Development Opportunities and Inspiration

Finally, spend time looking beyond your current work to look for new tools and insights that could improve the current work on your team. Don’t wait until a tool is outdated, you feel you’re lacking skills, or your team is disengaged and discouraged to seek development opportunities.  Awake Leadership contains exercises for ranking and researching tools, tips and insights for development, as well as exercises for finding your sources of inspiration.

If you, as the team leader, are not fully aware and clear on what the mission and vision is, what the capabilities of each team member are, and how the vision will be accomplished, as well as the unresolved questions are, you will not able to provide a platform for efficient, smooth work for the team. When you spend time planning and doing intentional solo work, you awaken to the true intentions of your team and your work. You lead your team members with more clarity, confidence, and ease. You hone in on what is really important and let go of small trivial or interpersonal politics or drama along the way. Most importantly, you lead by example and your team members will appreciate the grounded, thoughtful direction. Awake Leadership provides a step-by-step process with exercises for developing your solo planning and team dynamics for moving toward your objectives.

Do you allocate time for solo work as a leader? How do you use that time?

If you’re ready to work on your solo and team leadership skills and discover more impactful insights about leadership and collaboration, purchase your copy of Awake Leadership on