Schedule Your Day Around Your Energy
I’ve been blessed to have the energy to do the bulk of what I want to accomplish each day.
But I constantly meet people who marvel at my energy, while bemoaning their own and saying that one of their most practical struggles is just staying awake to push through their day’s tasks.
Lack of personal energy is no joking matter.
I know there are times in my days when I feel more energetic than others.
But for years I didn’t realize I should consider that when creating my day’s agenda. Instead, I built my agenda around my available time, not my available energy.
Now I acknowledge that I got it wrong. I’ve revamped my approach. By paying attention to my energy cycles, I am able to accomplish even more by having my peak focus on my most challenging tasks.
My change of approach started this spring when a friend of mine spent an entire luncheon talking about the work of Tony Schwartz and his approach to channeling personal energy.
She had just read the book The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy Not Time, by Schwartz and his co-writer Jim Loehr.
I downloaded the book, thinking better late than never when it comes to considering a new idea.
Schwartz has been intrigued by the subject of personal energy for quite some time. In 2003 he founded The Energy Project and in 2005 launched The Energy Project Europe.
The world became more familiar with his work in October of 2007 when his article “Manage Energy, Not Time: The Science of Stamina” (co-authored by Catherine McCarthy) appeared in the Harvard Business Review. After that he went on to write The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: Fueling the Four Needs that Energize Great Performances.
Let’s face it: Most of us want to pack more into every day than we do. But exhaustion finally takes over and we call it a day. We tally up the items not completed, squeeze them into the already impossibly full next day, and tumble into bed.
Of course this is also a formula for stress and failure, for poor focus and completing tasks without our full attention.
After my conversation about Schwartz I began to consider my life energy and how I was allocating it each day.
What if I broke up my tasks into energy allocation instead of time allocation? What if I slotted the most demanding tasks when my energy was at its peak, and the least demanding tasks at those points in the day when I am traditionally tired?
Would it make any difference? I started my own three week experiment. It wasn’t scientific, but I kept meticulous notes and paid attention to tasks completed and energy allocations and times energy was most expended.
The bottom line is that it did make a difference. And not just a little difference, but a huge difference!
I began to think about our culture where people at the top of their game are admired for their endurance. Any pace less than frantic is suspect as being lazy or not caring. We must move, move, move, even if we are not sure where we are going.
Today I define my energy as what I have to put into my work, in the form of effort and thought, balanced by what I get out of my work, in the form of how my energy is expended and when it is expended.
I have discovered how important it is to use my energy wisely. I make my choices far more carefully than in the past. My clients now get managed energy, not just frantic activity aimed in their direction.
With each new project comes consideration of the energy that will be needed to deliver a result that will please the client and take their project to the next level. I try to schedule my meetings when I can guarantee the best attention for the best outcome.
I try to stop each day before my energy well is completely depleted. This has allowed me to build banks of energy that I can draw on in desperate situations. I can deal with the unexecpted better.
Managing my energy means building into my day and my week time for me to recharge. I deserve as much attention as my tablet and my smartphone. I too need to stop sometimes and replenish my energy stores.
Building my day around my energy needs allows me to keep my eye on the priorities so that what is most important is completed before my energy is depleted.
When that point of depletion hits, it comes at my natural downtime, not an artificially contrived break time when others think I should stop.
Finding my rhythm and managing my energy is making a huge difference in both my work and my personal life. I encourage you to try it.
As the base of your energy strategy remember that your energy is too precious to waste. It needs to be focused on what you need to accomplish in your business. Find out what kind of energy commitment you need to make and make more strategic choices.
You will be amazed at the results.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold expert brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 14 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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