‘Time Management’ is a term that many people use in modern business, but it is perhaps the most inaccurate thing to consider. This is because time cannot be managed in reality. Time is always fixed because you can have only 24 hours in a day and seven days a week. At best, you can strive to manage the time available to you by engaging in energy management.
As the adage goes, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” So, if you wish to manage the time available to you efficiently, you need to pay attention to your energy levels. Otherwise, you may end up with some short sprints instead of completing the marathon of life. That may lead to a failure in achieving your goals and objectives because you might be good at sprinting but eventually fail in the marathon. In terms of business, this would mean that you can make a great start at multiple projects but fall short of endurance and willpower to see them through.
What is energy management?
In today’s world, energy management is a vital skill to possess, as many people are suffering from burnout these days. A recent study showed that, on average, 57.2% of tech employees said that they felt overwhelmed by their jobs. As burnout at work is on the rise, you really need to have focus, feel motivated, and keep well to maximize your productivity. However, all these three things can be aligned when you know how best to manage your energy.
What are the types of energy that you can manage?
Every person should be mindful of the following five types of energy:
● Physical Energy: This energy is primarily related to the health of an individual and is influenced by our general health, caloric intake, sleep routine, and exercise regime. Taking the right foods and doing the necessary movements can ensure that you have the energy required to tackle all your scheduled tasks efficiently. Also, physical activity can be beneficial in increasing your productivity.
● Emotional Energy: This is essentially the quality of your energy. In a negative emotional state, an individual tends to burn through their energy very quickly and easily. However, if you are in a positive emotional state, you tend to preserve your energy. The best possible way to ensure that you have positive energy is to stop beating yourself up over every little mistake. Celebrating your small victories is also equally important.
● Spiritual Energy: This energy can be better understood when you have a thorough understanding of the purpose of any given task that you have in hand. This type of energy is closely related to the faith and beliefs of an individual. You can improve your spiritual energy by staying true to your values and missions not just in your own life but also on an organizational level as well.
● Mental Energy: This energy involves having a clear and focused mind. You best harness this energy by practising journaling and meditation. Complaining or overthinking can hardly help you find the mental clarity you need to be productive. Only when you keep in mind and practice the first three types of energy can you have a clear mental focus and avoid distractions, which are essential for increasing productivity.
● Social Energy: This helps in energizing the social life of an individual. Irrespective of whether you are an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert, socializing can have an incredible impact on your energy. Lack of social interactions can negatively impact your energy, leading to a plunge in your productivity levels. You can improve your social energy by interacting with friends and relatives and going out on walks.
What are the advantages of energy management over time management?
Time is a constant factor in life, but your energy is not. On the other hand, though your energy is the fuel that propels you through time, it is highly inconsistent. Throughout the day, your energy levels can go up or down. These fluctuating energy levels are what influence the amount of time you use to get things done. When you have high energy levels, you tend to focus more and perform tasks quickly with little or no mistakes than when you are feeling burnt out.
Therefore, instead of practising time management to organize your daily schedule, it is much better to organize your tasks according to your energy levels. You can start by taking note of your “peak performance periods” within a day. It is the time when you have the maximum energy to do your best work. You can try using these periods to complete your most important work. Energy management programs at the workplace can also prove to be beneficial in helping individuals manage their energy.
At Wachovia Bank, a group of employees was taken through a pilot energy management program. After that, their performance was measured against that of a control group. It was seen that the participants of this program outperformed the members of the control group on a series of financial metrics, for example, the value of loans they generated. They were also reported to have made substantial improvements not only in their customer relationships but also in their engagement with work as well as their satisfaction.
What Are Some Good Ways of Implementing Energy Management?
There are a plethora of energy management strategies that you can implement in order to increase your productivity. Here are a few simple tips that you can practice to manage your energy levels efficiently:
Get Enough Sleep Every Night
According to Medical Daily, more than 30% of the workforce, i.e., around 40.6 million Americans, are chronically sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation can cause depression, delirium, hallucinations, impaired cognition, and increased risk of infections, cancer, preventable accidents and overall mortality. Getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night can ensure that you have improved memory, lower systemic inflammation, improved immune function, elevated mood, enhanced learning and problem-solving abilities, etc.
Exercise for At Least 30 Minutes a Day
Daily exercise can help in decreasing depression, elevating mood, reducing stress, lowering anxiety, improving blood flow to the brain, enhancing the production of new brain cells, boosting memory, increasing discipline, controlling impulses, and making decisions. According to Harvard Business Review, regular exercise must be made a mandatory part of every job description. Just about 150 minutes of weekly exercise can be sufficient to improve your productivity, mood, and general well-being.
Eat Healthy and Maintain a Balanced Diet throughout the Day
The studies from Harvard Business Review show an inextricable link between the ability to focus your brain in achieving long-lasting concentration and the calories you consume daily. That is why it is essential to eat a healthy and balanced diet if you want to be productive. You can start by eliminating processed foods from your diet and consuming slow-burning foods like raw vegetables and fibrous carbohydrates all through the day to regulate your brain glucose levels properly.
Meditate for Not Less than 10 Minutes Every Day
Several studies show a very clear link between increased productivity at work and regular meditation practice. Meditation has been proven to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure, alleviating insomnia, aiding in stopping smoking, reducing depression, anxiety, pain, and symptoms of IBS.
Meditation has also been shown to rebuild grey matter. Therefore, practising meditation for at least 10 minutes every day can decrease anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness, which can, in effect, improve your productive output.
Take Strategic Breaks throughout the Day
Studies show that human brains cannot focus effectively for more than 90 minutes. That is why it is essential to take more breaks if you want to get more work done. Work can be very tiring, not just mentally but physically as well. Both your body and your mind need time to recover after performing demanding tasks. You can test out various methods of recharging yourself so that you can renew your focus throughout the day. That is bound to pay good returns in the long run.
Do the Work You Love to Do
It has been seen that more than 82% of the workforce is actively disengaged from their jobs. This is because you can’t have high energy levels and be very productive if you are not happy with your job. Even with proper sleep, the right exercises, and plenty of meditation, your productivity level can be low if your job is monotonous. Hence, it is pivotal to find something that interests you if you want to have sustained productivity.
Life is short, and rushing through it to manage your time so that you can tick off some items on your to-do lists is not really worth it. Instead, living a happy, sorted life and being present in each moment count more. Experience the joy that comes from being physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially alive. Your energy is a vital resource, and managing your energy can help you in managing your life more efficiently. Following the above tips can give you a gentle introduction to the world of energy management and help make some big improvements in your life.