Time Versus Energy
19 July 2016 at 11:03 am
Sponsored: Effective time management is a concept that many struggle with but by approaching tasks with the right level of energy, more can be accomplished. HLB Mann Judd’s director, business advisory services, Kate Blecich explains.
When I am facilitating time management workshops, I often find myself recounting the phrase: “Time is finite and energy is infinite. So we should all channel more energy and find things that inspire us to fill our days.”
At a recent meeting I recounted this to a workshop group that were seeking to understand how to use their time more efficiently and how they could forecast their key activities differently.
The group had spent time preparing over the previous month by forecasting key tasks and activities and scheduling other requirements as and when they popped up. This was to help them better understand where their time constraints were occurring and whether their issues as a team around completion were time, system, process or people created.
Utilising a cloud based tool designed to capture some of the information outlined above, the raw data was available to the group and the answers to many of their key questions were on hand just awaiting analysis.
To understand whether the immediate efficiencies were going to be found from time, system, process or people enhancements, I wanted to encourage the group to think along the lines of “energy” and how we could channel this, and it’s more endless opportunities, rather than just freeing up time alone.
This is because all too often even if time can be found or created for an organisation if it is not correctly reallocated to the right tasks and activities, the return on the time investment is not maximised.
To help facilitate this, I posed my statement to the group that: “Time is finite. Energy is infinite. How do we find time to spend on things we are passionate or inspired doing while still ensuring everything else gets done?”
At that moment one of the participants in the workshop loudly groaned and then rather apologetically excused herself for the interruption her obvious disgust at my statement created.
Before I could drill into the automatic and clearly passionate reaction that my statement caused in her, she found the courage to proceed with a very truthful retort. She quite loudly, and without further hesitation, announced to the group: “My energy has an expiration date and is most definitely finite!”
This is clearly a very truthful and self-aware statement to make. Energy is not infinite – just like time. We all have energy within us but everyone’s levels are different. While our energy needs to fuel our professional and personal lives, it is also true that at different times in our lives our professional and personal lives may compete causing our energy levels to drop.While at other times our professional and personal lives may work in harmony creating more energy and becoming a self-perpetuating motion.
As I stood back and observed the ensuing group discussion, it was obvious that while everyone agreed that energy was indeed finite the majority also acknowledged that the expiration date and outcomes created when working while inspired or energised where actually infinitely longer than when working with time alone.
If you consider many of the tasks, roles and requirements needed to get things done for the teams we work with, there will always be some that require specific qualifications or levels of experience due to regulations or the complexity of the work itself. However, there will be many others that require a particular level of initiative and a type of approach to a given task that cannot be taught through experience or qualifications alone.
One way to consider this is as follows – if you were asked to divide your workforce into two types of people, would the person be:
- the type of person who comes to work and does not change a thing, just repeats a process and does it well; versus
- the type of person who comes to work and cannot help but change something… who constantly looks for the opportunity.
Both types are required in a workforce, and both will naturally enhance the right roles if they are in them. It comes down to having the right people in the right roles and then ultimately having these people working on the right tasks at the right time.
Finding time to get the right tasks done at the right time can also come back to finding what it is that energises you. Tapping into this energy will create time, which is a finite resource, and one that today seems to be in short demand wherever we look.
Since this workshop I now ensure when I facilitate discussion regarding time and prioritising activities that I preface it with this example. Yes, time is finite. But when we work on tasks and activities that we are passionate about, or that inspire us to do more, we will always achieve infinitely better outcomes.
Decoding and recognising the complexities that drive workplace behaviours is critical for organisations to ensure alignment, achieving the team’s true potential and the organisation’s objectives.
Through the power of science and technology, HLB Mann Judd’s People|Process|Systems approach can assist with:
- hiring, selecting and onboarding process
- employee engagement and retention issues
- team development needs and process
- discovering high performers and leaders
- understanding your team’s time pressures.
Kate Blecich can be contacted on (02) 9020 4034.