The question of Brianna was “why didn’t you raise the bed before making it?” Her answer was “I don’t have time.” Her answer was on a video, so there was no doubt that’s what she said. She said it with exasperation in her voice because even though she knew she should have raised the bed first; she truly didn’t think she had time. She was then asked to raise the bed, which was timed at less than 60 seconds.
Let me provide some more background to this question of Brianna. We were a hospital and we cared about health, yet we realized we had too many back injuries among our staff. Those back injuries were costly to our staff (it was their backs) and to the organization. We hired a consulting firm to analyze the physical requirements of the jobs most impacted by back injuries. Their process was to follow workers, like Brianna, filming them at work and asking questions to better understand how job duties impacted their back.
Brianna knew the right way, raising the bed reduces the stress on the back. Yet she put the health of her back in jeopardy for less than 60 seconds of time. It seems insignificant, but it takes seconds for a weakened back to be injured. Maybe this was just a bad day for her, maybe this was a routine.
I think we are all a little bit like Brianna in that we miss the opportunity to do something for ourselves or others and the reason we give to ourselves is, “I don’t have time.”
I know I’ve missed way too many opportunities in my life with staff, peers, friends, my wife and my children, all because I was too busy. I can’t fix what I missed over the years, but you and I can all take a few seconds or minutes to do the right thing going forward. Let me share some opportunities that don’t take much time.
An organization doesn’t need an elaborate program for recognition and appreciation of staff, if leaders consistently are present with their teams and take a few seconds to express things that staff really want to hear:
- “Thank you.”
- “I value you.”
- “You’re important to the team.”
- “What do you think?”
Technology can make us more efficient, but it doesn’t have to be our first choice. Personal connections are more meaningful and memorable.
- It takes only minutes to walk to someone’s office or cubical to have a conversation about an issue. Not only will you resolve the issue, but you’ll also strengthen a relationship.
- It takes seconds to pick up your phone and call someone to discuss an issue. It’ll be quicker and take less time than a lengthy e-mail or text.
If there are problems in a relationship with someone at work or home, it takes only seconds to say:
- “I’m sorry.”
- “I don’t think we’re on the same page, can we talk about it.”
- “I’d like to fix this.”
If the pandemic this year has taught us anything, it’s the value of time. Too many people have died this year who thought they had more time. If you want to live without regrets, find the time to do what’s most important, connect personally with others. Do it now, don’t wait.
So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to. Ephesians 5: 15-17 (TLB)