You’ve read every time management book you can get your hands on. Watched every free webinar, and downloaded the free reports. You’ve even implemented some of the tactics. Rocked your 25-minute pomodoros, focused on one task at a time, and reserved a specific time each day for email.
And yet: your results have been… inconsistent.
Here is the deal:
Tactics alone don’t work.
We’re in a new age of business, where energy management works hand-in-hand with time management.
“The key is to become an excellent manager of your time along with mastering where you direct your energy,” Matt Mayberry acknowledged on Entrepreneur.com, in his article “Energy Management is the Missing Link to Peak Performance.”
The problem with many time management techniques is that they apply indiscriminately to any task, where productivity is equated with task completion.
But if you’ve ever spent a day running like a hamster on a wheel, you know that you can get many, many tasks completed during the day, without feeling like you’re going anywhere.
This is where managing your energy comes in. Honoring it, over the course of the day.
What do I mean?
When you wake in the morning, you have full energy reserves, like a video game character starting a level with a full “life” bar.
Every encounter the character has either depletes energy (like an enemy inflicting damage *pew pew*), or increases energy (like drinking a health potion *glug glug*).
Likewise, each moment of your day impacts your energy in the same way.
To maximize your time, it is imperative that you protect your energy: sustain and nurture it, while avoiding the things that drain it.
There are two things at work here: one, acknowledging which tasks and events tend to raise or leak energy (that’s the energy piece), and two, doing something about it (that’s the tactical piece).
Here are 7 tactics to protect and build your energy: so your energy “bar” lasts you all day–without a magic potion!
Tactic #1: BEGIN with your top priority – your big dream.
Let’s say the big goal is writing your book (finally). So, make the first time slot of your day a task toward this goal.
As a heart-centered, purpose-driven entrepreneur, it is not enough to get stuff done. You are pumped up by getting stuff done that MATTERS.
Tactic #2: Chunk it down into a do-able length of time.
Productivity gurus champion working in short time spans with breaks in between – like interval training for your attention span.
When your plate is already overfull, carving out that fantasy four 4 hours’ time span or whatever is a way to put off EVER working on “the big thing.”
However, EVERYONE has 15 minutes they can put toward SOMETHING. Admit it: you already spend that time playing Candy Crush.
Make it something purposeful instead.
Tactic #3: Proactively schedule energy boosters.
I begin my day with 30 minutes of focused meditation. I didn’t start with 30 minutes. I started with five minutes. (My Becoming360 students know this practice as “The Attentionizer.”) Don’t over-reach. Start small.
I also take breaks for working out, walking. Sometimes someone on my team will catch me mid handstand in my office!)
Identify yours, schedule them with a cell phone timer, and honor them.
Tactic #4: Declutter your environment.
Clutter saps energy.
A clean, uncluttered workspace will give that energy back.
Tactic #5: Celebrate “Sniggly Days.”
Another prominent energy leak are all those little things that need to be done, that keep popping up on mental post-it notes.
Every time you think, “Oh yeah, I need to schedule that doctor’s appointment” for the 3rd time that day, it zaps a little of your precious energy.
Schedule a Sniggly day, and complete them all in a wildly decadent vacation/get-stuff-done day once or twice a month. For full instructions, click here.
Tactic #6: Do things badly at first.
My friends, it’s about doing. NOT perfection.
Do NOT require that you bring your bestest, brightest, highest-output energy to every little thing. Sometimes you just have to show up.
Your pretty good is good enough. Allow yourself to act imperfectly, to do things badly. And get them done.
Tactic #7: Know your categories and schedule accordingly.
Entrepreneurs are famous for burning themselves out on low-value tasks so they’re depleted by the time they get to the focus work. Why do they do this? To avoid the focus work. After all, it’s usually pretty scary. Better to check lots of items off a to-do list and at least FEEL like you’re productive, right?
In my Uplevel Your Productivity program, I teach what I call The 5 Energies of the Entrepreneur. It’s a framework for understanding which items require which kind of energy from you so that you understand where to place them in a day. So, try this: write down everything you do. Then, group items into categories, based on what kind of focus or energy they take. Then be aware (as you schedule your week and as you go through your day) what category you are in and how your focus is. Use your own experience to then adjust and see what works best for you. There is no prescription that works for everyone. Find your flow!
Time management tactics framed by energy management is where the magic happens.