Research & Insights – Time and Energy and Covey’s Four Quadrants

Time and Energy –

How do we Juggle the Urgency of it?
In this paper 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 the “stuff” I need to do?

Plan your Work and Work your Plan

For all of my working life, during my twenties and early thirties, I lived almost exclusively in Covey’s Quadrant 2 –Planning.
My motto in life was “Plan your work and work your plan”. I found this approach very easy. It is my natural tendency to be organised and know exactly what is next. I felt in control; I never had to work too hard, I never started early or finished late because everything was planned. This suited my perfectionistic view of my work and myself.

Strategy and Planning for Effective Organisations

The perceived urgency demanded by a potential new customer often diverts an organisation’s time and energy. Of course, it is important to invest time and energy on new opportunities, however when this encroaches on the service level of valued customers, there will be negative consequences. The brand and culture fallout from these decisions will undermine an organisation’s standing with its employees, clients and suppliers.

Thought for the Quarter

As you may gather from previous newsletters, my interpretation of a Courageous Leader is someone who is willing to view the world from a whole new view point and not about trying to come up with solutions through managing or improving situations from inside the structure which created them.
This is very true of the topic for this issue of Research and Insights . After all, how many fabulous time-management courses and techniques have we tried and behavioural change programs have we attended where the effect is temporary and still the demand on us remains. Ive often heard, ‘Oh yes, that ‘effective diary management’ technique is awesome! If only I had the time to implement it!”
When I find myself in a place where I feel like I’m needing to juggle time and energy, I bring myself back to one of the most powerful truths I know and that is I AM ALWAYS AT CHOICE.

Its very easy to lose myself in the busy-ness and drama of overwhelm and over-commitment and in that experience, forget that truth. In the moment I have forgotten that whatever is turning up, all the urgencies and “must do’s”, I have chosen. That truth can be a hard one to swallow, especially if it appears that someone else is pressuring me or if its something that I don’t feel like I have chosen and yet, I still remind myself of that truth.

It can feel like everything is important and needs my attention right now but I have learned that if I sit back, take a breath and get off the hamster wheel in my mind (yes sometimes a big effort to do, especially when you may have many people pressuring you!) and remind myself that before I came into the world, it worked well without me and after I leave this world it will work well without me, the avenue of other options open up.

By getting present in this way and getting out of my self aggrandizement, the path clears, my energy replenishes and the most effective action step becomes obvious. Its like my natural intelligence comes into play and I know what’s the most important step. Then I notice that much of the urgent ‘stuff’ gets taken care of and the worst case scenarios that my head comes up with, don’t occur or get resolved by others stepping up and taking responsibility.

And with this being viewed through the context of Courageous Leadership it takes just that, COURAGE and a willingness to do something differently and role model to others that sometimes the most powerful thing to do is do nothing, step out of the re-activeness of the moment, until you are present and choose with a clear mind.

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