Why smart workers aren’t busy doing nothing

Want to know the secret to success? Peter Foy reckons it’s all about using your energy wisely. Here’s how

“It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?” Ronald Reagan.

Compare the words of a former president of the United States of America with the work ethic and philosophy of Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of Tesla and other high-tech companies. Musk claims to work 120 hours a week, while Reagan was famed for his laid-back approach to life.

    For every swan drifting over the surface of a lake, there’s a pair of legs doing a lot of work beneath.  

So the question I’m thinking about is: who’s right?

Busy fools and smart workers

We have all experienced the busy fool as a colleague. That person who is always early at their desk and late to leave, but actually achieves very little. The one who is quick to tell you about their long hours and the awesome responsibility that comes with their job, but who doesn’t really make an impact on the workplace.

At the other extreme is the professional who appears to glide effortlessly through the working day, taking everything in their stride. This person makes it look simple to win deals, easily exceeds targets and still manages to enjoy a great life. They probably have a beautiful family, a dream house and a fantastic future. It’s hard not to feel a little envious of the ease with which they live, even while acknowledging their brilliance.

Of course, we all know that nothing is as straightforward as it seems. Even those people with an apparently charmed existence, titans of time-management who coast through life with all the grace of an accomplished ice skater, have moments of self-doubt. For every swan drifting over the surface of a lake, there’s a pair of legs doing a lot of work beneath.

But there is a valuable lesson to learn from these two stereotypical extremes – and that’s about the need to expend energy wisely in order to succeed.

Inputs and outputs

Over the past 40 years I have learnt that successful professionals, be they software developers, sales folk or recruiters, share a pattern of behaviour.

With salespeople if you take a snapshot of activity halfway through a quarter, some will already have made the target and be building pipeline for the next quarter. They are organised, steady and structured in their approach. They identify priorities, work methodically and with dedication, and get things done. As a result, they can enjoy their downtime, secure in the knowledge that work is going to plan. And it’s all thanks to careful planning and appropriate application.

Those, hopefully the minority, who haven’t adopted these virtuous habits things look very different. Their targets aren’t close to being met, let alone beaten. They’ve no prospects for the next quarter, because they’ve barely planned to the end of this week. And they look constantly harassed, like butterflies flitting from flower to flower but never resting.

In short, they’re busy fools. 

People deliver results

Now, it’s my responsibility as a manager and leader to help these people develop the right habits. Which is why staff training and development are so important to business success. Invest in your people and you’ll reap the rewards. It’s as true now as it’s ever been.

What’s also true is that, if you get the right people in place, your chances of succeeding increase dramatically. We can help with that, because it’s our business to find the employees who will make your organisation take flight.

So, if I can help my staff to work smart, it’ll increase the chances of your staff following suit. Sounds like a good bit of business for all concerned, doesn’t it?

Oh, and by the way. Reagan won the Cold War. As for Elon Musk… well, he may be rich, but the jury’s out on his achievements.

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

Published: 26 November 2019

If you liked this article you may like to read – Spotlight on Haverhill

You may also like to read – Business insight: Analysing UK employment figures

Jobs currently available

New job
Designer
Sector: Creative Arts and Design
Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 per annum
Location: Kelvedon
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909686
About the role

Are you an experienced Designer looking for your next opportunity?

Are you proficient on a MAC?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Kelvedon.

Your duties will include:

  • Producing good, eye-catching design concepts
  • Striving for creative output that is to the highest standards in execution and application
  • Upholding best practice ideas and aiming to consistently deliver the best design output
  • Good problem-solving and contribution towards concept idea generation
  • Proficient Mac operating and creative software skills
  • Strong design and visualisation ability
  • Contributing to creative team development with inspiration, insight and design trends found in the wider creative industry
  • Good communication skills and able to articulate work and ideas to the Creative and Client Services teams
  • Supporting the delivery of pitches and presentations
  • Well-rounded contribution to all design projects

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday 09.00 – 17.30.

If you are interested then apply today!

Read more
New job
Small Plant Engineer / Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £20,000 - £26,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909734
About the role

Just Recruitment is seeking a Small Plant Maintenance Engineer to join a company on the outskirts of Halstead, Essex.

  • Due to the company’s location, you must be able to drive to be considered for this position.
  • Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am-4.30pm - Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.
  • Working as part of a maintenance team, primarily in the workshop, to ensure all site equipment (handheld and small tools) remain serviceable, safe and functioning correctly. (Knowledge and experience of two-stroke engines will be a distinct advantage as would welding/fabricating experience.)
  • Assisting with preventative and reactive maintenance when required on all machinery and production-related equipment.
  • Carrying out other tasks and duties as reasonably directed by your Foreman and Line Manager.

Key skills and experience required:

  • Experienced mechanic with a good all-round knowledge of mechanical and electrical principles.

The company will consider a graduate/college leaver with a genuine interest in Mechanics / Engineering, as they can offer in-house training and guidance.

A competitive salary is on offer with a wide range of additional benefits.

Performance-based yearly bonus scheme, with 50% paid in December and 50% in March.

23 days paid holiday plus the statutory Bank holidays.

Health insurance policy that contributes towards dentist/optician costs, physiotherapy etc. Recently-refurbished canteen serving subsidised healthy meals produced by our experienced chef.

Working Monday to Friday, 7.30am–4.30pm – Must be flexible to work shifts to assist with holiday cover/absence when needed.

Read more
New job
Mechanical, Electrical & Trim (MET) Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Competitive depending on experience
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909711
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an experienced Mechanical, Electrical and Trim (MET) Technician on behalf of a company based on the outskirts of Sudbury.

You will be keen to get involved with all aspects of the Bodyshop.

Duties:

  • To strip and fit damaged panels, interior trim and mechanical/electrical parts
  • To perform all work assigned in a timely manner, economically and to company and manufacturers standards
  • Assess faults
  • Job cards and assessment reports
  • Accessing and removing mechanical and electrical components
  • Removing and fitting non-structural body panels
  • Removing and re-installing mechanical and electrical systems
  • Vehicle valeting
  • To operate equipment and carry out all duties in a safe manner
  • To maintain equipment, protective clothing and work areas in a clean, tidy and safe condition
  • To maintain a high level of competence for the work to be undertaken by undergoing on-site training, attending courses at suppliers and manufacturers and reading technical bulletins as required

Qualifications:

  • ATA or NVQ is essential

Personal qualities:

  • Reliable friendly and willing to continue gaining training to keep up with the latest technology
Read more
New job
Semi-Experienced Estimator
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909869
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Semi-Experienced Estimator on behalf of a company based in Earls Colne, Essex.

Your main responsibilities:

  • To contact the clients, architects and engineers either by phone or email to obtain accurate information about their precast concrete flooring and/or stair requirement.
  • To produce accurate quotations that reflect the clients’ requirements.
  • To liaise with colleagues within the Sales and Estimating department regarding the project in order to increase the likelihood of securing the project.

Candidate requirements:

  • 1-2 years of experience within an Estimator position essential.
  • A good understanding of the Construction industry.
  • Additional knowledge of software such as Bluebeam and CAD software such as Autodesk is desirable although full training can be provided if necessary.
  • Outstanding time management skills with the ability to prioritise accordingly.
  • A confident and professional telephone manner is essential.

Working Monday - Friday, 40 hour week.

Free parking is available.

23 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Read more