Manage your energy not your time!

Effective time management is one of the attributes we most frequently expect from a good employee or manager. But is it really possible to manage time well?

Time is, in fact, a non-renewable resource. It does not depend on us, and in reality, the only thing we can do is to make the most of it.
The problem with time management lies not in the fact that the techniques and tools do not work or are not available. We’ve all heard of scheduling, prioritizing, and multitasking being important — or nowadays, multitasking being passé. The resources are out there, but even if we take time to schedule our day, vowing solemnly that we will not look at our email until we write that overdue report, most of us still check our email all the time to see if anything important has arrived.

While working, we need to face many challenges, and usually the common denominator is a focus on “faster, better and more accurately.” Realization of professional goals requires high performance, commitment and perfect time management. This is not always consistent with taking care of our own mental and physical resources. The consequences of all of the above are excessive stress and possible burnout.

The good news is that, in contrast to time, energy is a fully renewable resource.
There is a common belief that, to achieve success, a manager or employee should spend as much time at work as possible. Meanwhile, taking care of all the needs of our body (physical, psychological or mental) is the key to proper energy management and, at the same time, the basis for efficient operation.

Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr are the creators of the energy management idea in which they minimize the role of time management in favor of energy management, claiming that the better employee is one who’s able to effectively manage their energy resources. The better he does this, the better he performs at work.

We have four sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
By taking care of all these sources, optimal form can be achieved.

Physical energy – there is no great surprise here that it depends on diet, amount of sleep, and physical fitness.

Emotional energy – this comes from the emotions we feel and our ability to control them. The more positive emotions we have, the higher our energy levels are. Key features that drive positive emotional energy are: self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal skills and empathy.
Negative emotions are not always bad and they trigger our survival instinct, but also they cost us a lot of energy and are useless in terms of performance.
The ability to trigger positive emotions during periods of intense stress is the foundation of effective action and activity that brings joy, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with oneself, and is a source of emotional renewal and regeneration.

Mental energy – this manifests itself in the perception and interpretation of reality. Mental energy also includes the perception of difficulties. If we look at the difficulty as a challenge, it creates a motivational component to it. The word “challenge” includes the positive energy necessary to take steps. It is something that a person can cope with by basing it either on their own experiences from the past, or by seeking support from others.
Constant mental activity protects the brain against a decrease in efficiency associated with age as well.

Spiritual energy – this has its origin in the personal values system and should not be misinterpreted as any religious system. The proceedings in accordance with one belief make sense, confirm the rightness of actions, and are a source of satisfaction.
Spiritual energy gives us power to act in all areas of life. It fuels passion, perseverance, and dedication.
Spiritual energy is maintained through a balance between dedication to others, and properly understood care for oneself.

Achieving high efficiency is possible with the proper care of each of these four energy sources. The starting point for energy management is to balance our own resources, to identify the deficiencies, and to take concrete actions to increase and maintain the balance among them.
Focusing on these activities brings measurable effects: increased productivity, better mood, and, as a result, the satisfaction of functioning at a high professional and personal level.

There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~Mahatma Gandhi

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