Manage your energy, Not your time

Nowadays, workplace stress is common. Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in more working hours, which automatically take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. This leads to decreasing engagement levels, increasing distraction levels, high turnover rates, and employees’ rising medical costs. 

The main problem with working more than the average working hour is that time is a limited resource. Energy is a different aspect. In physics, energy is defined as the capacity for doing work. Energy comes from four main elements of human beings- the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.

In each one of them, energy can be expanded and regularly renewed by establishing particular rituals—behaviors that are voluntarily practiced and correctly scheduled, to make them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible. People should make such rituals a habit. As a result of such practices, which are healthy for us, we can effectively utilize our energy to do our work.

After making those habits regular, we would know which work would require how much power. And, thus, we would be able to act accordingly. Then, our energy will be well-managed, and therefore, in turn, our time will also be appropriately managed.

The main problem with working more than the usual working hour is that time is a limited resource. Energy is a different story.

To effectively re-energize their workforces, institutions need to change their importance from getting more out of people to invest more. As a result, they are motivated and able to give more and sound work output every day. To recharge themselves, people need to recognize the effects of energy-depleting behaviors in work/studies and then take responsibility for changing those particular actions/behaviors, regardless of the situations they are facing.

For example, an employee was working 10-12 hours a day for his organization. He felt perpetually exhausted. He found it challenging to manage time and spend time with his family after coming from work in the evening. This left him feeling depressed and guilty.

He didn’t get enough time to sleep, and he couldn’t eat well and in-time. He couldn’t eat healthy food didn’t get time for exercise. These all led to his health issues. So, he thought to change his lifestyle and manage his energy well. He kept time for eating, exercise and sleep. He made a time-table and well managed every aspect of his daily routine works. He ate healthy food. He didn’t compromise on that. Soon, he felt more energetic while working, and his life changed for the better.

‘The number of hours in a day is constant, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us are not fixed.’ To give consistently high performance, you have to manage your energy, not your time. If you typically organize your time—for example, by creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, and keeping dedicated time for each of those activities—you know how easy it is to get derailed in the course of a typical working day.

A single email or conversation with another can break your focus or rearrange your priorities. By managing your energy, you can be the best performer for whatever activity comes up, whether it’s fully present in conversations, giving creative ideas in a meeting, or entirely focusing on a necessary and high-priority task. You can achieve results that are far better than the incremental gains you might get from various time management techniques.

How to manage your Energy?

These are a few tips on how to manage your energy:

Recognize the race you need to run

When you’re aiming to deliver high performance on a critical, long duration, and time-consuming work project, you will often hear people say, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” It would help reduce your pace, so you don’t feel burn out during the long struggle ahead of you. But when it comes to imparting continually high performance, it might not be the ideal resemblance.

Say a business development manager leading a team during a bid for a multi-million-dollar contract recognized that the relentless specialization in the high-stakes end goal was sapping the team’s confidence. One month after the activity, they were already showing signs of burnout.

To re-energize the group of employees, the manager identified three smaller goals: conducting an analysis of the competition, negotiating with suppliers, and writing the proposal. With this plan, the team was able to work in a series of “sprints” to cross the ultimate finish line and win the bid.

“I get more energy from the sprint,” says Amy Fern, a Houston-based principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP. “And I utilize the downtime to organize for the subsequent sprints. That is how I do know we are making progress—breaking the entire project into pieces helps me get to the top of the marathon.”

Be an energizer

People who make others feel energized are energized themselves. It is the same as motivating others. If you make others feel motivated, that means, first of all, you are yourself motivated within yourself for working on your goals. An optimistic and well-motivated person will be able to make others feel motivated. Always stay positive. Have positive thoughts in every situation and moment of your life, no matter what.

That will solve every problem and help you remain calm in high-stress cases. Always say positive things about yourself, in your mind, and also while speaking to others. Have a positive self-concept. Whatever you talk about yourself, your family members, and your work – they have a significant impact on your state of mind and the life you will lead in the present and the future.

So, always think positively while you are alone, and speak positively while you are with people. As it’s rightly said: ‘Take care of your thoughts when you are alone, and take care of your words when you are with people.’ 

But, being an energizer is not equal to being an entertainer, charismatic, or intense. “Rather, they bring themselves fully into a conversation.” This is easiest for Feirn when she is playing the role of a career advisor. “What gives me a great deal of energy is helping the people around me chart their career paths,” she says.

Think about the times when you are most able to listen to, be completely present, and energize other people. Build more of those conversations into your day, and you will find that your performance also will get a boost.

Know what drains you and sustains you

Leaders like Feirn know what drains their energy and take proper steps to avoid those interactions, works, and events. Instead, they create more of the tasks that energize and sustain them into their days.

“Blocking time on my calendar for important family events is necessary for me to maintain high energy—especially since I travel so much,” says Feirn. “It’s important to allow yourself to manage your world in such a way that it works for you.”

Self-assess yourself. Try to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Identify which activity brightens you up, .i.e. boosts your energy, and which activity drains your energy. You can act accordingly, work upon those activities that energize you, and avoid the activities that drain your energy and you feel tired or exhausted. Such as, if your favorite leisure-time interest is Gardening, then you should pursue that every day after you come from your workplace. If you feel every day, you follow the same monotonous routine and try to change your way. Try to do something different than the previous day. Try swapping between your hobbies after an interval of a few days. If you have 2-3 interests such as listening to music and dancing, you can try dancing for a few days, and then after some days, you can listen to music for the next few days, then again, you can switch to dancing. As a result, you will feel happy and relaxed. During work at your office, try to take some break between works if possible. That will make you feel refreshed, and you will be able to do your job more effectively. After taking a break in between work, you will feel energetic and will be able to give your best performance. 

Get some sleep

Just because you have deadlines to meet and people to impress doesn’t mean you can sacrifice sleep to get the solution or any conclusion. Not only will losing sleep affect your health, but it will also make you less effective.

After having a good night’s sleep, you will be able to wake up fresh and energetic early in the morning, and you will be able to work in a good mood. A tired mind cannot think clearly, and it is hard to stay calm when you are living in a mental dilemma. We can only learn and adapt when we take rest properly. 

Pace yourself like an elite performer

Make a plan for every task. Once you fully understand what you are up to, you can develop a step-by-step plan to reach your goal. Successful people think about the final objective and work towards it. Nothing helps you stay calm like a clear plan of action. To maximize bursts of performance time in your everyday work routine, categorize your workload into 90-minute chunks.

Following these activities will refresh you by listening to music, taking a walk, or interacting with a friend at your workplace. Every person needs physical and mental breaks throughout the day. It might be a walk around the organization building or a coffee run. Taking several short breaks will help you gain more energy and be more productive.

CONCLUSION:

You probably can tell how much time you work on an average each day, but can you tell how much energy you have available to use each day? It is a lot harder to measure strength than to measure time. Time might be a constant, but your available energy is not a constant.

The secret to personal freedom is accepting yourself and orienting your personal energy needs with your work’s goal. The more and more you will learn how to manage your energy, the more your anxiety will decrease, and the more your satisfaction with your life will increase. And, you will feel happier and calmer. Your productivity will also increase the more and more you focus on managing your energy instead of managing your time. Then, finally, you will recognize that you will have less power than the time you have every day!

And, believe me, if you adopt the method of working by managing your energy rather than managing your time, it will transform the way how you work! You will only have 3 to 4 hours a day when you are highly energized and sharply focused on creating your best work and giving your best performance. That’s it.

The trick is not how to increase that period of high energy but how to make the best use. Your life is the total of your thoughts. Your thoughts guide your habits. Your habits create the lifestyle you are living. Your available energy is the fuel for the development of your practices. Your energy’s quality and availability affect the development of your habits than the thoughts that guide their development.