Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time – Part 1
Work can be fulfilling or draining, and several factors play a key role in determining which one is true. The truth is that even the most draining work can be manageable, but to make this possible, you need to know how to regenerate and preserve your energy. Too often, we think that if we just manage our time, we will be able to take on the world. In reality, our energy levels will determine what we can accomplish. In this article, we will explore how to manage your energy so you can thrive.
The Difference Between Time and Energy
Time is a big factor regarding how we live our lives, and it can feel like we never have enough of it. However, if we focus on maintaining and growing our energy levels, we learn very quickly that we can do more with the time that we do have. While time is a physical representation of our day, energy is what sustains us.
Your energy is your ability to carry out a task to completion. It is the actual power you bring into your day that you will use to handle what needs to get done. We use energy when we work, when we cook delicious meals, when we spend time with friends or family, and when we exercise. Preserving our energy can help us complete the tasks we want to finish on a given day.
Most of us respond to demands from our job by working longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. The energy that we have comes from a variety of sources. It can be influenced by our emotional well-being, our minds or mental stimulation, our physical body—and the spirit that is within us.
Before we can increase our energy, we need the right tools to do so. We need to have a plan, and there is a very good chance that your lack of rituals is forcing you to rush through your energy reserves before you have even had your morning coffee. Rituals can help us to regenerate more energy so we can do more in a given day.
Tips for New Rituals:
Regular Exercise—Adding exercise to your daily routine can feel draining at first, but it pays with time. People who exercise regularly have higher energy levels.
Go to Sleep Early—Early to bed, early to rise. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your physical and mental energy.
Eat Healthier Foods—Too often, we end up eating foods that do not nourish our bodies, which can force our energy levels to spike and plummet. While your body may crave junk food or foods high in sugar, eating a well-balanced meal will give you better results.
Plan, Rest, and Recover
A great way to increase your energy is to ensure that you have a solid plan. Making a plan to tackle your tasks will help you schedule time for your rituals and rest and recover. The time you spend planning will be well worth it. It will help you navigate the tasks you need to get done without putting so much pressure on you and contribute to better time management. Embracing this change can ensure that you approach every new task with a fresh mind and well-rested body. Make time for recovery now, and you will have more energy to finish tasks later.
Tips for Recovery:
Plan your day realistically and estimate the amount of time per task you need to get done.
Stop for 15 minutes throughout the day to renew your energy. Meditation, prayer, and breathing exercises can be beneficial.
Nurture an optimistic attitude towards life and feel hopeful about the future.
Prioritize! You need to use your time wisely and not waste it on tasks that are not so relevant.
Every single one of us has a unique flow of energy. The key to success at work and in life isn’t really starting strong, it’s staying strong. When we focus on choosing actions that encourage our energy to regenerate, we increase our capacity to take on our daily challenges. Remember to take care of your mind, get plenty of rest, and make time for the people and passions that you love. When you focus on filling your energy levels, you will naturally do more without additional effort!
Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a university professor of management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.
_________________________________________________________________________  Schwartz, T., & McCarthy, C. (2007). Manage your energy, not your time. Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. https://centre.upeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/8.2-manage-energy-tony-schwartz.pdf.  Sauders, E. G. (2021, May 14). 4 Ways to Manage Your Energy More Effectively. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/05/4-ways-to-manage-your-energy-more-effectively.