Why You Should Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Follow these four pillars of energy management to become more productive without risking your mental and physical health
What can you do to perform well and be productive every day?
Managing time can feel like the best approach. But if you are exhausted, more time or time management tools won't help! So how can we become more productive without risking our mental & physical health?
We always focus on squeezing more tasks into our schedule to perform better. Then end up feeling exhausted, stressed, and burned out. Instead, what we should do is find a way to do more with the time we have.
To do that, we need to shift our focus to managing our energy, not our time!
We can divide our energy into 4 categories:
- The Body: Physical Energy
- The Emotions: Quality of Energy
- The Mind: Focus of Energy
- The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose
Let's see how these 4 types of energy affect performance and what we can do to increase their capacity.
And then you would realize how you can truly balance your life, find more time to connect with your loved ones, and spend more time on your hobbies!
1. The Body: Physical Energy
Everyone is familiar with physical energy, the energy required to move and think. However, physical energy is not unlimited. We spend more energy per day than we recover. So, we need to recharge our bodies regularly to sustain a high level of energy.
Physical energy is our most important fuel! So how can we maximize our physical energy?
Our physical energy is depending on how we eat, sleep, and recover.
Food & Water
One of the sources of physical energy is healthy food. So we should take food that would maximize our energy, such as nuts, green veggies, etc. So make sure you add them to your diet every day.
Also, remember that drinking enough water is equally important!
Another source to sustain & maximize physical energy is to recharge our bodies with regular rest.
How many mistakes have you made the last time you work late in the night?
The human body needs an average of 7-8 hours of sleep. Fewer hours of sleep make you feel exhausted!
In addition to preserving physical energy, we can maximize it by doing regular exercises. But, of course, this doesn't mean that you have to hit the gym every day.
You can take a walk outside, do some yoga in the morning, or maybe dance a little bit every day!
When we focus on managing time, we tend to work long hours without a break and end up feeling drained! To avoid this, take regular breaks every 1.5 hours or so by having a coffee or walking around. These breaks give you a chance to recharge and stay productive for a longer time.
Maintaining a high physical energy level helps our physical performance as well as mental performance. So find a ritual with some physical activities that you enjoy, which you can do in between breaks.
2. The Emotions: Quality of Energy
Do you remember the last time you did something simply because you enjoyed it, not because it was required?
By focusing only on managing time, we tend to postpone enjoyable activities we like to do. This increases our negative emotions!
This happens because we get positive emotional energy from doing things we actually enjoy. It's a source of emotional renewal, which helps us to increase our emotional energy.
So remember to prioritize at least one activity per day that you really enjoy!
3. The Mind: Focus of Energy
The ability to focus on our work and get things done faster is crucial for our performance. Unfortunately, one way that everyone is trying to do this is by multitasking. But it actually reduces our productivity.
First, we need to find ways to focus efficiently on our work. A temporary shift to check our phone or email will drastically reduce our time to focus longer. Eventually, this will become a habit, and you will no longer be able to focus for a longer time.
To avoid this, have a specific time allocated for checking emails, socials, and notifications. Start rituals that help you not to shift your focus from the current activity that you are doing.
For example, put your phone in flight mode.
Remember to live in the moment!
4. The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose
Spiritual energy is the source of motivation!
Spiritual doesn't necessarily mean being religious. It means making a commitment to our personal values that gives us purpose and compels us to act. What fuels our spiritual energy is to align our daily activities to a higher purpose.
To develop spiritual energy, we must have core values and a clear vision for ourselves. This helps us stop acting based on our immediate needs & desires, which gives us quick satisfaction.
Ask yourself what's important to you? What do you want to be remembered for? When you answer these questions, it will be easy to find your core values and your vision.
If you value "respecting others", put it to action. Ex: Don't be late for meetings; respect others' time!
Developing and managing your spiritual energy will motivate you to perform well in what you are doing. In addition, when you have a sense of purpose, it compels you to prioritize and focus on important things that you need to accomplish.
Start positive Rituals to manage your energy
One of the tools you can be used to manage these 4 types of energy is "rituals". I'm not talking about religious rituals! 😀
Rituals mean positive, conscious behavior that we perform without thinking. We can't always act consciously! Rituals help us to balance the energy by performing without thinking.
Have you seen sports stars doing some activities before they start playing? How are soldiers preparing for combat? These activities make them make decisions automatically.
Find rituals that make you help balance these energy types. It could be, tiding your desk before you start working, or taking a deep breath 10 times when you are angry or stressed.
Having positive rituals helps us to perform at our very best!
Ever since I read "The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, I started focusing on my energy and managing it.
This is how I'm able to manage my life with a full-time job while being a mom and focusing on learning.
I hope this will help you as well!
Project Manager and an aspiring web developer