January 2013

Turn Time Management into Energy Management


January… It’s that time again. We get focused on all the goals we want to accomplish during the year along with aggressive timelines. But how much thinking are we doing about how to manage our energy effectively - not just our time in order to achieve the goals?

AM or PM??

Are you a morning or night person? When I ask this question to my clients and friends, some give me a confused look.  And others are very quick to say which part of the day they are most alert. In fact one good friend has always felt out of sorts in a corporate environment due to the required 8am to 5pm work hours. She is definitely not a morning person and does her best work in the evenings. She’s now in business for herself and has learned how to manage her energy to achieve her business goals. And in fact is accomplishing much more than she ever did in her past corporate career.

While we all can’t be lucky enough to choose our best time of day to do our work, we can get clearer on what those best times are and then organize our work to fit those times when possible.  And it doesn’t take a complete reorganization of work to make some simple shifts that can create significant results.

Daily Ups and Downs

Our bodies naturally go through various stages during the day of feeling up and down, awake and sleepy, alert and foggy.  Because the cycles are somewhat predictable, it’s good to recognize your personal cycle and think about the type of work you do and when each aspect of that work seems easiest to accomplish.  For example, I’m a morning person, so I always schedule my most creative thoughtful work in the mornings.  It’s when I organize my client notes, and ideas for the next sessions. I handle the more routine tasks like paying bills, creating invoices or answering emails in the afternoon.

You’ll be amazed when you recognize your natural energy cycles, how much more you can get done and how much better you’ll feel at the end of the day.

Energy Drainers

I don’t have a client today who isn’t “crazy busy”.  In fact it’s frequently the first thing they tell me in our initial five minutes together.   They are usually trying to do forty things at the same time.  It’s that out-of-control overwhelmed feeling that drains all energy, leaving us stressed and irritable.  Over time, it can create physical and emotional problems, in addition to less than your best work accomplishment.

Avoiding Your Personal Energy Crisis

 There’s been some important research done in the area of managing our personal energy.  Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy of the Energy Project in New York City, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review in 2007 titled, Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.  It’s well worth a read and I’ve noted the link to the article below.  They highlight the four wellsprings of energy in human beings:  the body, emotions, mind and spirit and how each can be expanded and renewed regularly if recognized and consciously attended to.
 
They include an assessment in the article they call an Energy Audit to help identify where you might be headed for an energy crisis.  The assessment includes statements in each category to determine scores across each area.  The article then identifies specific ideas within each of the four areas, to begin managing your energy more effectively.

Here’s the link to the article and assessment.  (Note that you must print the article in order to access the assessment).  http://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time/ar/1

Action to Try

 As you begin your work schedule next week, try paying attention to your energy, and how you feel at the end of the day.  At the end of the week, take a look back and notice where you were most energized, and where you were most drained. 

  • What times of the day were you most alert? Do you make the most of this time?
  • What times were you least alert? What can you do with this time to maximize your effectiveness and your energy? 
  • What drains you of your energy? (Think about relationships in addition to your work tasks)

Where could you make some simple changes to allow you to manage your energy most effectively throughout the day?

"Energy, not time, is our most precious resource" - J. Loehr and T. Schwartz

Maximize your energy in this new year!

 Struggling with leadership effectiveness or business change?
 
If you’re looking to enhance your leadership effectiveness and would like some help to get the results you’re looking to achieve, I’d love to talk with you. I help leaders to successfully navigate the challenges of making change to achieve the results they want. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details, free resources and to schedule a complimentary consultation to move you forward!

Terri@TerriHughes.com

208-331-6612

 

   
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