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Feb 25, 201608:22 AMOpen Mic

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When it comes to time management, it’s all about energy

(page 1 of 2)

Many times, I’ve seen business leaders send their employees off on time management courses in the hopes that the training will help increase engagement and productivity.

Many times, I’ve seen those same leaders show bewilderment when the training doesn’t seem to have any impact — or worse yet, results in employees being less engaged and less productive.

Why is this happening?

Traditionally, organizations have believed that to create higher-performing workplaces employees must:

  • Be more committed and dedicated to the cause;
  • Stay later and come in earlier; and
  • Make more of an effort — that is, “try harder” (such as by learning new skills).

In other words, organizations seem to think that sheer determination is the key to helping employees perform their absolute best.

Now, I’m not going to lie: time management courses can be helpful.

But when a person is depleted of energy, all the skills and know-how in the world won’t be able to help them, especially when it comes to managing their time.

That’s because wherever you see high performance you will see the efficient management of energy.

February is National Time Management Month. It’s time that business leaders start looking at time management differently — through the lens of brain science.

Understanding the executive function

First, a little science lesson.

The brain is, inarguably, a very powerful organ. It controls how we think, feel, behave, and perceive and understand the world around us.

Moreover, within the brain lies a remarkable central processing unit called the “executive function” (EF). Capable of astonishing levels of value creation, the EF enables us to:

  • Process: analyze, predict outcomes, and problem solve
  • Focus: memorize, pay attention, and verbalize
  • Self-regulate: maintain impulse control, self-monitor, and cognitively flex
  • Initiate: prioritize, plan, and decide

But wait, there’s more! The EF also helps us:

  • Think strategically: addressing systemic issues, uncovering root causes, and predicting the downstream implications of decisions and actions
  • Collaborate broadly: influencing and aligning stakeholders across the organization
  • Communicate clearly: providing context, making meaning, harmonizing competing priorities, and resolving conflict
  • Execute decisively: drawing out the best information possible, making a call, and closing the loops to ensure complete follow-through has been achieved

Directly or indirectly, every one of the above capabilities is related to our ability to 1) manage time and 2) be productive.

In other words, the executive function is absolutely critical to how we manage our time.


Feb 25, 2016 03:33 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

What about the inherit time sucks in the typical workplace? Being present at work is one thing. Being productive is another. Send your employees to all the time management courses you would like to try to improve their performance but it might be in vain. You might have better success also asking these same employees what would make them more productive. Based on experience, there is likely a multitude of workplace procedures that scream "time sink". Meanwhile, management may have assumed these procedures were "the way it's been done" and were already at maximum efficiency which have never been considered for changes. In my opinion, time management is a double edged sword that could work for everyone because, typically, cuts can be made on both sides.

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