As hard-working professionals, we are constantly looking for tips and tricks to help us better manage our time. If we just had a few more hours in our day, we’re pretty sure we could rule the world. Despite how desperately we try, we can’t seem to find that twenty-fifth hour, leaving us dejected and staring at an unfinished to-do list day after day.
Some experts conclude the trick is not in working longer hours. The trick is in strategically managing the way you work within the hours you have. This strategy tells us to forget about time management and focus on energy management. Time is a finite resource. You can’t create more of it. Energy, however, is renewable. Your energy ebbs and flows throughout the day and week. You can make this work for you and your to-do list.
YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. There are certain hours during the day when you are at your peak. Maybe you’re a morning person and all your best work is done at the beginning of the day. Maybe you don’t feel like you actually wake up until after lunch. Try to plan your schedule around these patterns. Block off these high-yielding hours for your most demanding work. Push those conference calls, meetings, and administrative tasks to the time of day when your energy declines.
REPLENISHING YOUR ENERGY
Instead of pushing through your day desperately fighting the clock, stop and replenish your energy. Take breaks during the day, whether it be an hour for lunch or a five minute walk around the building. If you are energized by spending time with others, take a short break when your energy is low to chat with a few coworkers. Learn what works for you and take advantage of it.
As much as we would all like to have complete control over our daily schedules, it’s not always an option. We have to take advantage of the days we have where we are able to ideally manage our schedules and energy. This way, when we have a day when our planning goes out the window, we can be assured tomorrow will be better.
We also have to be realistic with ourselves about exactly what we can accomplish during a work day. It’s true – sometimes we have no option but to cram a million different tasks into a single day. However, there are some days when we seem to unnecessarily set ourselves up for failure. When we correctly prioritize and become more realistic about our daily goals, we stop wearing ourselves down day after day.
Energy management allows us to stop letting our schedules and lack of free time run our lives. By managing our energy, we’re more likely to reach our full potential. For more resources on the topic of energy management click here, here, here, or here.