The time to understand
Getting down to business too early in a conversation or failing to ‘read’ the other person can result in a lack of human connection and an absence of understanding about the other party.
Taking time to truly understand people is a vital part of building productive relationships. You might think that means less time to deal with the business at hand but it’s a critical investment.
When you take an interest in people they feel valued, understood, they warm to you, you buy yourself time to think of what to say next and you gather valuable intelligence. That’s an amazing return for that investment!
Time to learn
When the first lock-down came in this year most of my work disappeared (temporarily I’m pleased to say). But I took the opportunity to read some of the personal development books on my shelves and update (and upgrade) my workshop content.
If you’re really busy delivering work that’s great, but when you’re busy chopping the axe gets blunt. Take some time between tasks to sharpen the blade.
It’s estimated that in an average lifetime we spend one third of it asleep – what a waste! Didn’t Margaret Thatcher get by on 4 hours’ sleep a night? If only we could reduce those lost hours we could achieve so much more; after all, waking hours = working hours.
These days the accepted wisdom is that sleep is vital for our well-being and productivity. Getting plenty of sleep can reduce the likelihood of obesity, helps our problem-solving skills and memory, reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression, boosts our immune function, improves social skills and our ability to recognise people’s emotional expressions.
Sleep, in other words, is time well spent!
Over the last few months we’ve become used to home working; some people love it, others can’t wait to “return to normal”. Fans of remote working point to its efficiency and convenience – no commuting, manage your own space, get more done!
The problem is you often find you’ve spent hours sitting on your back-side, with meeting after meeting and no space in between.
The absence of ‘in-between’ time is as problematic as it is efficient. It’s like a meal that’s served in a rush; as soon as one course is finished the plate is whisked away and replaced with the next. No! We need some time to reflect, chat and gear ourselves up for what comes next.
Physical movement is critical too. Distances walked tend to be less at home than with traditional work settings and experts point out that a single piece of strenuous exercise (eg a gym visit, run or brisk walk) does not compensate for long periods of inactivity.
Getting up and down from our chairs throughout the day is highly beneficial.
My message here is to value the things that happen between-the-tasks. It’s not all about the bricks – mortar matters too!