No points for busy: how to manage energy not time

People Activation - 3 mins

Being busy. It’s something that we often wear as a badge of pride. Something that we feel signifies how hard we are working, how committed we are or even how good we are at our jobs. Endless to-do lists, frantic work days and never feeling like there’s enough time in the day - but are we simply being busy fools?

Author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, writes in his blog about how we should stop championing simply being busy, but should focus our attention on working smarter. “Busy is not the point. There’s a common safe place: Being busy.

“We’re supposed to give you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to the other, never pausing to catch your breath, and now you’re exhausted. No points for busy.

“Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters. No points for busy.”

'I don't have time'

Time is a limited resource but what we fill it with matters, not just that it is filled.

In an episode of the podcast Is This Working about why we never feel like we have enough time, one of the hosts explains how she no longer says, ‘I don’t have time’ to do something. Instead, she says, ‘that’s not a priority for me right now’.

This shift in language is subtle yet important. It’s not simply that we don’t have the time to fit something in, it’s that it doesn’t align with our focus for the day, the week or even at all.

Additionally, setting out to do less tasks but dedicating more time to do them better can only lead to a rise in the overall quality of work.

While our time is finite, personal energy - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual - is renewable and is something that we can replenish by fostering simple rituals.

Taking brief breaks at specific intervals, expressing appreciation to others, reducing interruptions, and spending more time on activities people do best and enjoy most helps us all build physical, emotional and mental resilience.

Our approach

At People Activation, we have worked with businesses to help enhance the company culture by focusing on how people use their personal energy and time. One such company is Bayer, a multinational life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Our hands-on workshop gave staff the time and space to consider the best way to spend their energy and time. An energy specialist guided people through the importance of managing our energy and provided tangible tips to help improve it in their day to day.

Participants had dedicated time to explore wellbeing tools to help maximise their energy and a bespoke mural provided people with a moment of mindfulness - with time to reflect and identify what energises them.

Following the workshop, 89% of people said they understood the benefits that agility, empowerment, courage and energy can bring to Bayer.

One participant said: “It made me think about me and how looking after myself can make me more productive day-to-day."

Investing in personal wellbeing and having a defined list of priorities that ties into your goals is crucial for effective energy management.

It’s time that we start focusing our energy and attention to understanding what we need to achieve, and the key steps we need to take in order to get there. No points for busy.

If you’d like to discuss how we can work together to help your company manage energy, feel free to get in touch.