How constantly reacting can screw your time and energy management

This quarter I’m researching COVID-19’s impact on time management at the workplace, and I bumped into this quote by Jeff Weiner, Executive Chairman at LinkedIn.

Part of the key to time management is carving out time to think instead of constantly reacting. And during that thinking time, you’re not only thinking strategically, thinking proactively, thinking longer-term, but you’re thinking about what is urgent versus important.

Profound. Right?

I’ve had my share of times when I’ve reacted to what was in front of me instead of taking a step back, pausing, and thinking proactively about solutions. The other day, I went through a bout of overwhelm with all the projects, emails, and client requests that felt all over the place.

Upon reflection, I realised that I hadn’t carved out time to think strategically about the solutions that my team and I could be used to resolve our biggest challenge — streamline the creative project management operations by having everything in one place. We’ve got dozens of spreadsheets, a task management application, a centralised mailbox and are expected to provide global coverage around the clock.

No wonder we all were feeling overwhelmed. A lot was going on, and sure, we would work over the weekend to sort things out, only to see everything blow up on a Monday. And had it not for our conscious decision to take a step back and think about solutions, we wouldn’t have thought about investing in a project management app. Sure, there are so many options, but we have to start from somewhere.

Do we have the time to experiment? No. We don’t have the time to recover from the overwhelm either because the next level is an imminent burnout. And can’t let that happen.

That’s why I think the key to effective time and energy management is to avoid reacting to what’s going around you. Sure, we can’t change our environment, at least not all the time, but that doesn’t take away our agency to think for ourselves and critically about solutions.

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