Time versus Energy

You may have heard the saying “Time is finite but energy is infinite; so we should all channel more energy and find things that inspire us to fill our days.” I recently retold this to a group spending the day in a workshop focused on learning how they could use time more effectively by forecasting their key activities differently. The notion that they were wasting a limited resource certainly got their attention.

The group had spent time over the previous month forecasting key tasks and activities, scheduling other requirements around them as they popped up. They were hoping to better understand what caused the time constraints they all suffered and whether their issues as a team around completion were caused by time, system, process or people.

Time poor: mission critical

On my advice they decided to trial using Schedullo as a forensic tool to help them develop the critical intelligence that they knew they’d need to answer these questions.

Once the raw data was available to them via the reporting functionality in Schedullo, the answers to many of their key questions were on hand just awaiting analysis.

In order to start to conceptualise whether the immediate efficiencies that the group craved were going to present themselves from time, system, process or people enhancements I wanted to get them all thinking along the lines of “energy” and how we could channel this and its more endless opportunities than just freeing up time alone.  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.

So back to my statement posed to the group “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?”  It was at the end of this very passionate statement that one of the participants in the workshop loudly groaned and then rather apologetically excused herself for the interruption her disgust at my statement created.  Before I could drill into the automatic and clearly equally passionate reaction that my statement caused in her she found the courage to proceed with a very truthful retort to my original statement.  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.  Upon reflection – energy is not infinite – just like time.  We all have energy within us but everyone’s energy levels are different.  Our energy needs to fuel our professional and personal lives and at different times in our lives, these may compete while at other times they might work in harmony creating more for us in a self-perpetuating motion.

As I stood back and observed the group further explore this passionate and self-aware response to my initial statement 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.

Since this workshop, I now always ensure when I facilitate discussion regarding time and prioritising activities that I preface it with this example.  That time is finite but when we work on tasks and activities that we are passionate about or that inspire us to do more we achieve infinitely better outcomes!