Making a major shift with your company can feel overwhelming – there’s never enough time to do all the things that need to get done. And yet, we have seen many companies undergo these shifts not only surviving, but thriving. How do they do it? They realize that rather than focusing on the hours in the day, they should use their intuition and focus their energy. We call it bending time. It sounds incredible, but actually, anyone can bend time – it just takes self awareness and a willingness to reframe.
What is time bending?
Scaling your team, making an acquisition, taking on a huge new customer, or whatever that next level looks like for you seems to go hand-in-hand with the requirement that you and your team accomplish more in a set period of time than should be logically possible. Short of facilitating time travel (which we can’t do at Glowe – YET!), what can you do to overcome this hurdle? Our answer: shift away from putting time at the center of your mental calculations, and instead move toward perception and energy.
Our work at Glowe is centered in harnessing the power of people in business. People can do amazing things. Ever since we (humans) made our debut on earth, we’ve continued to push the limits of what’s possible despite all our seeming limitations. One of our biggest human challenges, which is also one of our greatest opportunities, is the way that we think about time.
Humans are actually pretty terrible at making time-related judgments. Psychologist Marc Wittmann of the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health explains: our sense of time is a function of the intricate interplay between specific cognitive functions and of our momentary mood states. At Glowe, we see this human quirk as a secret weapon that allows people – and businesses – to do more than they think is possible. Here are a few ways you can bend time in your business:
1. Don’t do things just because you can.
My experience has shown that the biggest obstacle for leaders in bending time is actually the mindset of “I CAN do that, I just need more time.” This is why at Glowe our very first step in a client engagement is exploring your natural gifts and talents (read: your super powers) and beginning to explore how those correlate with your actual role. Having responsibilities that give you energy allows you to release the constraints of time. You get to regularly experience a mindset that supports your creativity and productivity, allowing you to exceed your own expectations over and over again.
And yet, we often hear leaders say they feel it is important to stay “grounded” by engaging in a wide variety of tasks. They want to project that they are not above doing anything in the organization. We suggest that if you start by leaning into your own superpowers, then one by one shift others in your organization in similar ways, everyone will be so excited and energized by their work that no one will spend any time worrying about who is doing what.
2. Hold your plan loosely and live in the moment.
“Live In the Moment” may feel more like an Instagrammable quote than a solid business strategy, but let me explain. Knowing that how we are doing and how we feel “in the moment” has a strong connection to how we perceive time, we should always be open to adjusting our plans. For me, writing a new blog piece can happen in a flash when I’m energized and inspired. Or, it can take me several days. I can block time on my calendar to write, but it’s hard to know how I’ll feel when the time comes. I have learned to be ok with swapping to a different priority if my energy isn’t right, or reallocating part of my time block to do something that will get me in the right state of mind.
The trick is understanding that it’s not truly about time – it’s about energy. You may block two hours to get something done and if you’ve decided to obey your plan to the letter, you’ll slug your way through two hours. You might finish the work, and you might not. Or, you can honor your energy in the moment and decide to do something else for an hour, come back refreshed, then get the original thing done in half the time you originally allocated. Both ways it gets done, but one of them leaves you with energy for the rest of the day and one of them depletes you.
3. Add people the right way.
We’ve all heard variations of the quote “To go fast, go alone, and to go far, go together.” Walt Disney’s version is “You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” The time-bending potential of the right new person brought on in the right way is extraordinarily powerful. Yet, when we speak to clients, we hear a lot of anxiety about adding people to their organizations. The key objection is time – specifically, the perceived drag on the organization caused by needing to train and manage an additional person.
There is an art to creating a synergistic relationship in order to achieve the exponential effect of what is possible. We always advocate for spending significant time in identifying exactly what talent is needed, writing a job description, undergoing an in-depth hiring process, and planning the specifics of onboarding the newest team member. While this may feel like an unmanageable amount of time and energy to invest, recognize this: simply making the decision to bring on a new person, the shift in your organization has already begun. Adding a team member means there are opportunities for you and your current team to shift closer to roles that align with their superpowers. It signals a belief that your organization will continue to grow, which injects the energy of optimism onto the team. And as we’ve stated earlier, feelings of optimism and opportunity are connected to time bending ability.
Allowing yourself to thrive
Intentionally working toward allowing yourself and your team to feel fulfilled by your work is a similar concept to taking care of your general health. You only have one life – what you do at work affects what happens outside, and vice versa. Our natural state is to be creative and productive, so bending time is really just about recognizing what makes you glowe, then getting out of your own way. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help.