Words – 780 reading time – 8 minutes approx
Sustainable efficiency and productivity while protecting our well-being is becoming increasingly important in our lives and businesses. We now live our lives by time like never before. We cannot escape its hold on us. We have to make sure our blogs and articles are a certain length, so readers have time to read them. Twitter has become a multi-billion-dollar business based on this very idea. Instagram and YouTube seem to eliminate reading all together. Reading? Sod off, that takes way too much time. Video is the new thing. In the Western world, we have become time obsessed…or at least time saving obsessed.
What are we really saying when we say we don’t have time? – Whatever we haven’t got time to do is not as important to us as whatever we’re already doing or plan to do – sounds logical.
But it also has to be said that sometimes, but not always, our lack of time is due to false and unhelpful prioritising on our part or the organisations that we work for – I’m sure we can think of many instances that we felt were a waste of our time.
Time is perceived as a precious commodity in our lives and the busier and more fast paced our society has become, the harder and more scarce time appears to be. When you throw family, kids & pets into the equation, time becomes even more stretched and illusive.
How much of our time is spent doing things that move us towards our life or business goals?
How much time is spent doing routine or habitual tasks that keep us exactly where we are?
This is not intended as criticism, we all have these habits. Watching TV, aimlessly scrolling through social media, checking emails every 2 minutes. The list goes on in our time sapping procrastination’s.
When it comes to the workplace, time equals money. The more time we spend at work and the less time we spend doing nothing, the higher the productivity. Its obvious and logical maths isn’t it?
I have seen it many times when business leaders or managers believe the way to become more successful is to work faster and for longer. To pile workloads high and plough through it like machines.
The result of this belief?
Unproductive human thinking and emotion: Stress, burnout, disengagement, anxiety, anger, missed opportunities, lack of innovation to name just a few – All diminishing our efforts towards sustainable efficiency, productivity and well-being
The more pressure we are under, the more emotions play a part in our performance.
Time is paradoxical. That is to say, sometimes in order to move forward we must stop and perhaps even go back. In order to move towards your goals, you’ll need a space where we can share freely and unburden yourself from the often-illusory nature of pure hard graft.
It is an illusion to believe that filling time with stuff to do means higher productivity – it doesn’t.
Rest is crucial for us to perform at our best and reach our potential. The human mind simply cannot maintain focus without it. Giving ourselves and our colleagues ‘time to think’ is the fundamental criteria for productivity in the modern technological work space and in our lives generally.
We don’t always need to be doing something. Giving ourselves ‘time to think’ ensures that when we do focus on something, it is meaningful and useful.
To clarify; Allowing ourselves to be silently still is an activity.
It is, I would argue, a vital human function – we are not machines.
Research clearly illustrates that giving ourselves ‘time’ gives us the capacity to work more effectively.
Parkinson’s Law – “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
This law is sometimes applied to explain the growth of bureaucracy within an organisation but may also explain why the emergence of a 4-day week has begun to take hold in many countries, especially in Scandinavia.
Businesses are beginning to understand this phenomenon and the benefits of working less to achieve more. It may sound counter-intuitive, especially to traditional business thinkers but we are complex organisms that operate in very complex ways.
Many cultures intuitively adopt the theory of rest. E.G European countries have Siesta’s, often due to the midday heat.
In addition, Neuroscience has shown that an afternoon nap can greatly improve brain health and performance – Cue Google sleep pods.
I am not advocating that we laze around all day engaging in naval gazing for no reason, but it may be time to re-frame our perception of time and how we use it so we can be the most effective.
So, How long did it take you to read this post? 10 minutes maximum?
Amazing isn’t it. Our perceptions of time and how warped they can become.
Congratulations on finding 10 minutes in your day.
Thanks for reading – keep it UP!