Manage Your Energy, Not Just Your Time

For years, I’ve sought ways to get more done in my work day. You know the time management mantra: capture, prioritize, and schedule, right? What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.

Manage Your Energy, Not Just Your Time

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock (edited in Canva)

Need any apps? I’ve tried iPhone apps such as Fantastical, Pomodoro, and Evernote (which are all super).

I’ve read every book and tried every tool known to man. I even bought an Amazon Echo. Cool device. I can say, “Alexa, add 8 O’Clock coffee to my grocery list. Alexa, what appointments do I have on Thursday?”

These time management tools and techniques have helped me in significant ways, but there’s another powerful key to productivity.

The Secret to Getting More Done

It does not matter how much time I have if my energy level is low. Let me put another way: If my energy level is high and my mind is clear, my productivity skyrockets. If not, I drag through the day, persevering but not getting much done. Been there?

Several years ago, I read The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr. The authors provided powerful insights on the need to manage energy and how. I made changes in my life that helped me create and sustain more energy.

Furthermore, I have energy in the evening, allowing me to invest quality time with my family and friends. I am more physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally clear, and spiritually engaged. In general, I’m a happier guy.

8 Ways to Boost Your Energy

So, what is the magic sauce? (Hint: It’s not a shot of Expresso Coffee or a Red Bull.) Here are the things I’ve found to be most helpful:

  1. Exercise daily. Motion affects emotion. When I’m dragging or feeling down, one thing that can get me going again is exercise. Sometimes I don’t feel like walking, going for a run, or doing upper body exercises. But I know the consequence of not exercising. I just do it!
  2. Rest. One of the best ways to improve your performance is getting adequate rest. I shoot for eight hours of sleep every night. I rest as much as possible on weekends. Our family also enjoys taking vacations a couple of times in the year – the beach in the summer, the mountains in the fall.
  3. Have fun with your hobbies. How do you express yourself creatively? Do you like to paint or cook? How about woodworking? My hobbies include guitar and gardening. These healthy diversions provide energy for others parts of my life.
  4. Eat energy-boosting foods. In short, I have reduced high glycemic foods such as pancakes, pastries, and cookies. I eat more slow-burning fruits, vegetables, and grains. I also eat more frequent, small meals during the day, which helps keep my metabolism more stable.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people. We all have energy-depleting people in our lives, ones who constantly criticize and say negative things. I avoid these individuals as much as possible and spend the majority of my time with encouraging people.
  6. Engage in meaningful activities. Does your life have a purpose? What do you value in life? People who find activities that align with their personal values are energized by these activities. In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of working with college students at my church. I’ve also blogged and taught others about project management.
  7. Read good books. Want to improve your knowledge and skills in a particular area? Perhaps you want to improve your leadership skills. Check out a book such as The Leadership Challenge. I find books on leadership and productivity motivate me. Want to take a mental break and escape from the stress of work? Try a novel.
  8. Connect with God. For me, nothing means more to me than my relationship with God. There is nothing that excites me more. I find great joy in connecting with God early each morning. I grab a cup of coffee and my Bible and read, pray, and reflect. This daily routine prepares me to serve others each day.

How Will YOU Manage Your Energy?

How about you? What gives you more energy? Take a few minutes to map out what you will do in the next week to boost your energy and improve your focus. Changing our habits does not happen overnight. Here are five strategies for building new habits.

The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%. -Andrew Carnegie