How Managing Your Energy Can Improve Productivity

Time Poor and Overwhelmed? Try Managing Your Energy Not Your Time

Many leading thinkers in the fields of workplace performance – including author My Holland, are beginning to suggest that time management is a bit of a furphy.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with s-t-r-e-t-c-h-ing your working day and organising yourself around a packed schedule, it’s too easy to forget that time is finite. Time is a space that simply doesn’t stretch. There’s only so much that will comfortably fit into its confines.

Constantly struggling to push and cajole, shove and compress more and more into that determinate space can only lead to disaster – rather like what happens when you force an impossible number of things into a paper bag. It bursts and you end up angry and spent by the struggle.

On the other hand, the human energy that drives our capacity to work and play, is readily replenished – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And as a renewable force, it can be easily harnessed, directed, focused or expanded.

Manage your energy more effectively and you’ll find – almost magically – that time becomes more benign.

How to manage your energy

The experts suggest that it’s really no harder than evaluating the ways you habitually draw new strength to your mind, body and spirit and incorporating those measures into your daily routine.

Just as physical exercise ups energy levels in your body, regularly performing the little rituals that you know refresh your mind and re-energise your spirit, will strengthen your capacity.

Now, you’re probably thinking; “There’s nothing new in that. People are always carping on about more sleep, better food, more exercise, stop and smell the roses and so on. But how do they expect me to find time for that when I’ve barely got time to breathe?”

And of course, the answer lies in management. That is, managing your energy to create more energy – not juggling your time space to achieve the impossible.

To start your transformation…

It’s suggested that you review your habits just as you would the systems and expenditure of a business that was bogged down and under-performing. Your goal is very similar: to get rid of outdated systems and procedures and replace them with new and more effective ones

So start with the basics. Buy a new pocket of time by getting up a little earlier than usual to harness the power that’s going to take you through your busy day.

Deep breathe, stretch, meditate (even for a few minutes), drink water and eat breakfast (or some fruit) even before you connect to your electronics. An extra ten minutes invested in a walk around the block will pay dividends that you’ll feel for hours to come.

Then, look at what’s depleting your energies. Too much coffee and fast food; maybe alcohol; sitting too long; lack of exercise and fresh air; not taking short breaks; unrequited anger and so on. Come up with good strong strategies to replace those with new and better rituals. Implement them one at a time and don’t press on until you’ve got each new habit so established that you no longer need to think about it.

Then, throughout your day, look for opportunities to generate more you-power as you go.

Need a conversation or a short meeting with a staff member?
Take it outside. Walk as you talk. Or, if you must – find a sweet spot to sit outdoors and have your conversation there. While doing it this way won’t use up any more time, it will replenish the energy that tends to drain away inside four walls.

Need to focus on analysing, thinking though or preparing a document?
Start by shutting your door – or finding a quiet place of you don’t have an office – and spend just four minutes – preferably with your eyes shut – indulging in some deep abdominal breathing. Then, use your new burst of clarity and energy to get started and you’ll likely complete your task in double quick time.

Once you start to reap the very real benefits of harnessing your own life force and managing your energy more productively – and that will happen from day one – you’ll instinctively spot lots of small ways to keep up the momentum without fighting so hard against the clock.