Time Management versus Energy Management

Time Management versus Energy Management

It was recently my good fortune to attend a Masterclass in Learning Facilitation, created and facilitated by Helen Palmer. It was a fun and incredibly useful day, with lots of insights, advice, and a variety of techniques made available to us. Helen obviously has a ball while she facilitates, has an acute sense of when to deploy any of her huge repertoire of facilitation techniques, and generates a lovely energy during her sessions.

One thing that made me prick up my ears was during the section of the Masterclass when Helen was talking about preparing to facilitate. She mentioned that she makes sure that she puts aside half a day before and after a day of facilitation in order to be quiet, calm, and to reserve energy to give to her facilitation process. As an introvert, and an introvert who enjoys people, this approach made sense to me.

We are all familiar with the phrase ‘time management.’ Lately I have been thinking that we should also talk about energy management. We should not just think about when we do stuff, but also about the quality of energy we bring to the doing of those tasks. Working with people, working creatively, working technically, working intellectually, performing emotional or physical labour: these things all require different kinds of energy. Are we managing our lives so that we take not just enough, but the right type of energy into those tasks?

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‘Un Autre Monde’ by Grandville

Helen also made the comment “Some things like turning off my phone (before facilitating) I almost treat like a ritual… so that I have the cognitive space to deal with the unexpected.” Again, this pointed to Helen deliberately shifting focus so that she brought the right kind of energy to her facilitation work.

Those of us who facilitate know how rewarding it can be: creative, interesting, satisfying, and just plain fun. But it is intense. To do it well you have to be incredibly present and responsive. This Masterclass equipped us with lots of techniques, and that is useful and important, but the discussion around preparing to facilitate – I would call it preparing your energy – was equally important. I guess the secret to succeeding at any task or undertaking is to make sure that you have the right techniques and the right amount and type of energy. We are often good at identifying what we need for technical efficiency; are we as good at understanding how to manage our energy?

Presentation: When There Are No Words

Presentation: When There Are No Words

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Earlier this year I participated in a web carnival organised by the Teacher Development Special Interest Group (or TDSIG).

The focus of this web carnival was to look at how teachers and trainers cope when things go wrong during a class or workshop, and what can be learn’t. I think this is a beaut theme. Failure can be awful to live through, but reflecting on failure can be alchemical: cringe inducing moments – even disasters – that, in the absence of reflection, could be damaging can instead be transformed into insights or moments of realisation.

The three sessions featured in the webinar can be found on this website; have a listen if you’re a teacher or trainer.

My presentation – which talks about dealing with triggered unhappy memories – can be found here.

Previous blogs I wrote on my particular topic can be found here and here. TDSIG were also kind enough to include one of my old blogs – To Hearken, To Listen – in their latest newsletter.

For all those facilitators, trainers, teachers, consultants out there I’m curious: what is the worst thing that happened to you in a group session, how did you cope, what did you learn? Leave comments below.

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