Forget time management. Are you managing your energy?
Phrases like “manage your time” and “do more with less” have become the buzzwords for this decade. The idea is that if you can manage your time well, you’ll be more productive in all areas of life. The only flaw in this thinking is that time is finite. In other words, you can manage time all you want and continually push yourself to get more done. But all this managing and pushing tires your brain, drains your spirit, and disengages your soul. That’s when mistakes occur and burnout ensues. The key, then, is not to simply manage your time, but also to manage your energy.
Unlike time, energy is restorable. And when you manage your energy well, you’ll have more energy for your priorities, whether they are personal or professional in nature. If you don’t manage your energy, you can’t manage your time. Sure, you can think about all the things you need to do and you can schedule them, but if you don’t have the energy to do the tasks, you won’t be able to accomplish them appropriately.
Realize, too, that managing your energy goes beyond work/life balance. While many people talk about work/life balance (devoting ample time to all areas of your life), few address those things that make life rich and fun. With so many things competing for your attention daily, you need to give attention to energy replenishment so you can devote the time your life’s priorities demand. This is why it’s important to manage your energy before you manage your time.
The Three Pillars of Energy Management
Keeping your energy in check means giving attention to your brain, your spirit, and your soul. Think of it like a three-legged stool. For the stool to be useful, you need all three legs. Remove one leg from the equation, and the stool topples over and is useless. The same is true for your energy. Therefore, to keep your energy replenished, implement the following suggestions into your daily life.
- Stimulate Your Brain
The human brain likes control and certainty, and it’s very good at predicting the next thing that is likely to happen based on the information it has. That’s why you often feel better when you perceive you have control over a situation and feel stressed if you think you have no control over events. Additionally, the brain is programmed to fear. This is a good thing, though, because the inborn fear is what has allowed our species to evolve. The only drawback to this natural fear is that the brain will take three pieces of information and make a story out of it—usually a negative one. This negative story becomes your reality until you get another piece of data. Talk about an energy drain on your brain!