“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Time and Energy: How do we Juggle the Urgency of it?
Leaders everywhere are busy dealing with the urgent matters and situations other people demand of them - everyone wants things done yesterday. Along with these demands, leaders are inundated with a surge of information and face constant, often opposing and ever increasing tension - should they focus on the long or the short term; internal or external stakeholder needs; the engagement and retention of people working in the business or the return to shareholders? It feels like we are always juggling.
Here, we explore a very real and critical juggling act faced by all leaders - time and energy - where do I find the time and how do I create the energy to do all that I need to do?
Putting energy in as opposed to giving up time
I have just finished reading a book called Chasing Daylight - written by Eugene O'Kelly just before he died in September 2005. At the age of 53 he was diagnosed with inoperable and incurable brain cancer and given 3 months to live.
When diagnosed he was in his prime - CEO of KPMG, father to two beautiful daughters and married to a loving wife. The lessons he shares about living consciously are amazing and he challenges each of us to consider putting energy in rather than giving up time.
He refers to how he needed a new way of thinking about and looking at the world and at his own suddenly shockingly abbreviated stay in it. He also refers to the challenges he had been facing in the firm to change the culture and bring about a better work/life balance. Sound familiar? Many leaders within many organizations are still pursuing the same ambition of creating such change.
His experience in wanting to change the culture of the firm and wanting to deal with his much reduced life span lead him to explore this concept with greater richness and depth than ever before.
Eugene explains that commitment in the business world had come to be equated with time (something of which he had little now) - it is measured by the hours you are prepared to work and ultimately by how much time you take away from your family. He claimed that if you gave away huge amounts of your time then it followed that you had exhibited commitment. If you did not give so much time then it also followed that your level of commitment was judged as inadequate and you might be labelled as lacking in loyalty and drive.
His deeper explorations lead him to realise that commitment was not about time, not about reliability and not about predictability. He concluded that commitment was about depth, effort and especially about passion.
Eugene concluded so eloquently that commitment is best measured not by the time one is willing to give up but more accurately by the energy you are prepared to put in - by how present you are prepared to be.
He talks about the ‘Perfect Moments’ he missed in his working and personal life because he was too busy focusing on time - where he needed to spend it and what he was doing next with it. He forgot to be present and he forgot to be conscious of what was happening around him and for him.
It got me to thinking about how this relates to our business life and what we take for granted each day:
- Customer relationships
- High performing team members
- Our boss will take care of our careers
- Colleagues’ support
- People understand our intent
My challenge to business people and to myself has always been why does it take something so bad to happen - like being told you have 3 months to live - for change to be initiated? Why do we wait for such an imperative before we are prepared to be courageous and stop accepting the status quo?
Eugene acknowledged at the end of his book that had he chosen to model better work/life balance himself as opposed to bringing in a consultant to tell them what to do to change the culture then maybe he could have initiated far more change throughout the business.
What a powerful insight for courageous leaders to learn and leverage from - what are you doing as a leader in your business to juggle time and energy? So you are not taking too much time away from those you love and you are putting energy into those things and people who are critically important to you and your life’s purpose?
You might be interested in this event...
Upcoming Event: Reflect Your Success!
Building a Strong Personal Brand and a Powerful Network
How can building your personal brand help you achieve your goals? A strong personal brand allows you to network more easily and to connect with more people (and have them connect with you).
Join us on 29 May when Marny Lifshen, author of Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women presents a new webinar: Reflect Your Success.