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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Forget Busy. Become Purposeful.

Smiling co-workers in the office environment

Fully 90% of managers squander their time in ineffective activities. That’s the result of a 10-year research project studying the behavior of busy managers in nearly a dozen companies including Sony and Lufthansa. The researchers, Dr. Heike Bruch and Dr. Sumantra Ghoshal, term this “active non-action”.

Focus and energy are dual drivers in overcoming such behavior. Focus is like laser lights concentrated on seeing a goal through to completion. Today’s environment demands that effective managers move business forward in innovative ways, not merely push paper, send out memos or attend meetings to maintain the status quo. Energy results from a personal commitment to a goal that has meaning and passion. One must have both.

Here are some steps to increase focus and energy:

  • Take deliberate, thoughtful action toward a goal. Procrastination promotes paralysis.

  • Tell the truth. Don’t deny problems or let the pessimism of others to sabotage a project.

  • It’s not enough to be busy. What are you busy about? Beware of distractions and over-commitment.

  • Pick battles wisely. Fighting everything will drain energy.

  • Guard your time by erecting boundaries during certain parts of the day. Being available 24/7 does not create time to reflect and refocus.

  • Exercise, play golf, garden—whatever allows you to regroup, refuel, and reenergize.

  • Extend your influence, build networks, manage whatever will promote LONG-term results.

  • Gain support by engaging people with the urgency and vision but allow them choices as to how they will meet the challenges and derive personal meaning.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” – Lin Yutang

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