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Innovation on the Clock: How Taking Time to Work Smarter Can Drive Success

I want to talk about an oldy but goody, the importance of innovation, aka work smart not hard, or maybe both. In our current environment, the importance of innovation is even more pronounced as many industries are experiencing layoffs and downsizing. With limited resources and increased workloads, professionals who remain in their positions or with the company in any fashion are often expected to take on additional responsibilities and tasks that were previously handled by those who were laid off. This leaves them with less time to focus on their own work, let alone innovate and think creatively.

Yet, it is precisely in times like this that innovation is crucial for organizations to stay competitive and succeed in the long run. While it may be tempting to simply focus on completing immediate tasks and meeting short-term goals, taking the time to innovate and find more efficient ways of working can ultimately help organizations thrive in the face of uncertainty and change.

Professionals who make time to innovate can help themselves as well as their organizations. By developing new skills and expanding their knowledge, they can increase their own value in the job market, which can be especially important during times of economic uncertainty. Additionally, by finding ways to work smarter and not harder, they can prevent burnout and maintain their motivation and engagement in their work. Engagement is no small task, especially at times like these.


So, while innovation has always been important, it is even more critical in the current environment of layoffs and downsizing. Although it may seem difficult to find the time to innovate amidst increased workloads, it is precisely in times of uncertainty and change that innovation is needed the most.

Innovation is key to growth and success in any organization. It allows for the development of new ideas, products, and services, and helps companies stay competitive in an ever-changing market. However, finding time to innovate can be a challenge for professionals across various industries, from secretaries to project managers to developers. In this article, I want to explore the importance of professionals having time in their days and weeks to innovate, and how it can benefit both individuals and their organizations.


Preventing Burnout and Improving Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of allowing time for innovation is preventing burnout. Professionals who are constantly bogged down with routine tasks can quickly become fatigued and lose motivation. Having time to step back and work on something new and exciting will undoubtedly help prevent burnout and keep employees engaged in their work. When professionals are given the opportunity to think outside the box and come up with new solutions, they can find more efficient ways of working. This can ultimately save time and resources for the organization and improve overall productivity…It’s not that we are lazy or unmotivated to work hard, it’s that we want to do the best that we can.


Encouraging Creativity and Forward Thinking

Innovation also encourages creativity and forward thinking. When professionals are given time to innovate, they are encouraged to think creatively and come up with new ideas. This can lead to the development of innovative products or services and can help keep organizations ahead of the competition.

Naturally, encouraging innovation creates a mindset of creativity and forward-thinking throughout the organization. When professionals see that their ideas are valued and that they have the opportunity to make a difference, they will be more motivated to contribute their ideas and work towards new and exciting solutions. When it comes to innovation and finding more efficient ways of working, even small changes can have a significant impact.


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Let’s do a little math and don’t worry its simple: If a daily task that takes 20 people five minutes to complete and with some automation one guy took a few hours to figure out and implement that can be reduced to only four minutes, this would result in a time savings of one minute per person per day. While this may not seem like a lot, when you consider the impact over time, the results can be significant.

If this one-minute time savings is multiplied by the 20 people who perform the task, it results in a total daily time savings of 20 minutes. Over the course of a five-day workweek, this equates to 100 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes of time saved. Over the course of a year, assuming a 50-week work year, this time savings amounts to 100 hours.

Again, this may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that this time savings is just from one task performed by 20 people, the impact of finding more efficient ways of working across multiple tasks and teams can be significant. Math again, if 10 different tasks can be optimized in this way across an organization of 100 people, the total time savings per week would be 1,000 minutes or almost 17 hours. Over the course of a year, this amounts to a time savings of 850 hours. Assuming an average salary of $25 per hour, the 850 hours of time saved would equate to a cost savings of $21,250. This is just from finding more efficient ways of working across 10 tasks in an organization of 100 people. Imagine the impact of finding similar efficiencies across multiple teams and departments.


The truth is that the benefits of finding more efficient ways of working go beyond just cost savings. By saving time on mundane or repetitive tasks, professionals can free up time to focus on higher-level work that requires more creativity and critical thinking. This can lead to more innovative ideas, better decision-making, and ultimately a more competitive and successful organization.


Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Allowing time for innovation fosters a culture of innovation within an organization. When professionals are given the opportunity to innovate, they may be more likely to share their ideas with colleagues and collaborate on new projects. This can lead to a more collaborative and creative work environment, where everyone is encouraged to contribute their ideas and work towards a common goal.

Fostering a culture of innovation can help attract top talent to an organization. When professionals see that an organization values innovation and encourages new ideas, they may be more likely to want to work for that organization. This can ultimately help the organization attract the best and brightest talent and stay ahead of the competition.


Examples of Innovation Across Industries

Innovation can take many different forms across various industries. For example, a secretary may be able to innovate by finding more efficient ways to manage scheduling for the boss. A project manager may be able to innovate by finding new ways to track project progress or by implementing new project management software. A developer may be able to innovate by developing new features for a software program or by finding ways to optimize code for improved performance. Healthcare professionals can also be innovative in an office setting by finding ways to streamline administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling, patient record-keeping, and prescription management. Innovation can also take place on a larger scale, such as the development of new products or services.



In conclusion, while it can be challenging to find the time to be innovative, it’s an essential component of personal and professional growth. Whether you’re a secretary, project manager, custodian, or doctor, taking the time to think creatively and work smarter can help you avoid burnout, stay motivated, and achieve better outcomes.

Ideally, companies will recognize the importance of innovation and provide their employees with the time and resources to pursue new ideas and approaches. However, even if this isn’t the case, it’s up to each of us as individuals to make innovation a priority in our work and personal lives.

So go ahead, take a break from your daily routine, and allow yourself some time to explore new possibilities and ideas. Who knows, you might just come up with the next big thing that revolutionizes your industry, or simply find a more efficient way to do your work. Either way, taking pride in your ability to think creatively and work smarter will bring a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that’s hard to beat. Here’s to innovation, in all its forms!