Forget Time Management...focus on this instead!

"Forget time management, focus on energy management instead." 

The first time I heard of energy management was when one of my panelists at my the "Women, Work, and Time Management" (see photo) panel discussion mentioned it as a time management tip. I was immediately intrigued so looked into it. 
photo credit Jeff McManus

In 2003, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz published The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time is the key to high performance and personal renewal.

The premise of the book is that we often focus too much on managing time with little to no regard for how to manage our body's natural energy. Loehr and Schwartz argue that just as physical athletes know the importance of work and recovery, the "corporate athlete" needs to exercise the same strategy at work.

In another article, Manage Your Energy Not Your Time Schwartz explains that the problem with time management is that time is a finite resource that can't be renewed. There is absolutely no way to get more time when it is used up.  We only have a limited number of hours in everyday. Energy however, according to the Law of Conservative Energy, is a finite resource that can be renewed. While the amount of energy you have can't change, according to the scientific law, the energy can be transferred or renewed and used in more productive ways.

"Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible."

What rituals? Nothing hokie. Rituals like going to bed at a certain time. Taking breaks. Doing fun stress relieving activities.

Our usual response to being overworked is to put in MORE time to clear our plates. That usually means cutting out the things that renew us with energy. Instead of waking up early to pray or meditate, an activity that would replenish our energy supply, we instead wake up early to get work done, spending our energy.

Worry takes energy. Overwhelm takes energy. Negative stress takes energy. Worry, overwhelm, and stress are things we think happen to us as if we have no control over whether to receive them. Not so. We are the only ones who can control whether we choose to spend our energy in worry, stress, or overwhelm.

By shifting our mindset from time management to energy management, you no longer have to "find the energy" to get things done. You already have the energy. It's just being used in the energy depleting tasks of worry, stress, and overwhelm

Before I dive into tips on managing you energy as a time management tool, I'd like to hear from you. If you'd never heard of this energy management idea before, what did you think? If you are familiar with it, what are its limitations?

Leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true, Julia! I touch on this in my new book, too.