[New post from Chad Truby – Vice President, General Manager at Symbolist. You can read more about him on our Leadership page.]
As I pedaled through my morning route….I could not stop thinking about time. It all started with my alarm at 4:50am – and my quick reaction to smash the snooze bar.
But, as soon as I hit the snooze bar, I realized that I had just decreased my morning bike ride by 10 minutes. At that moment I was willing to trade 10 minutes with my bike for 10 extra minutes with my pillow. I did that 3 more times. The end result was that I had knocked 30 minutes off my exercise routine. I had traded 30 minutes of unsatisfying sleep for 30 minutes of valuable exercise. Truth be told – once I was finally on the bike and pedaling through my route, I was happy to be on the road enjoying the scenery and the effort.
As I raced through my ride (after all, I had limited time this morning thanks to the snooze bar) I kept thinking about an article someone recently shared with me (sorry some NSFW words in that post) that put time in perspective for me. From the post:
“The clock is a relentless master. It forces our reaction, and our decisions. In CrossFit, we don’t stop the clock and let you catch your breath, or get a drink, or figure out a plan for what you’re going to do next. The clock keeps running and you have to deal with whatever comes your way, right away. Just like in life. There is no place to hide while the clock is running.”
Just as the clock doesn’t care about your workout – your “life clock” really doesn’t care what you do each day. While time may be our master – we still have choices and options – we can, in some ways, take back some of the control. We can decide to use the time we are given. We can choose to get up and enjoy what time we have….or we can choose to lay down and let life pass us by. Either way…..it is our choice on how we spend our time.
Just as I traded 30 minutes of time in bed over 30 minutes of time on my bike, our employees trade their time – 40 plus hours of whatever else they might enjoy – for 40 plus hours of employment. As a leader you also have a choice on how spend your time. And one of the ways many great leaders choose to spend their time is recognizing and rewarding those employees that made that 40 hour trade off.
Some leaders will think that pay and benefits are enough of a quid pro quo – unfortunately, that is like hitting the snooze bar. You’ve just traded an opportunity for real connection and recognition for a soulless benefit that fades into the oblivion (much like that extra 9 minutes of sleep your snooze bar provides.)
Do you as a leader make similar tradeoffs in other areas of management and leadership? Do you limit the amount of time you spend getting personally involved in the development of your employees? If you limit the time you spend with your people/teams, how does that affect engagement, job satisfaction, or retention? Are you once again hitting the snooze bar when it comes to where you choose to spend your time?
One thing is for sure….all of us has limited time in the game of life. One day we will be out of time….and completely accountable for what we accomplish or fail to accomplish in life. Same goes for being a leader/manager. We only have so much time to impact our teams and our people. They will either see the choices you make as positive to them – and they will stick around and give you some great work… or they will see that you would rather hit the snooze bar and they will choose to leave and find someone who is more interested in getting out of bed and making a difference.
As my ride came to a close this morning, I was thankful for the shortened bike time and the beautiful sunrise. But ultimately – even with the 30 minutes of added pillow time – I wished I had more time.
Damn you snooze bar!
Make the most of your time… and enjoy the ride.