Manage energy, not time

Everyone wants to be productive, if only they learn to manage time well. What’s the logical next step? Sign up for a Productivity 101 or Time Management 101 program. Here’s the best part about these programs — you won’t have to worry about “management buy-in.” No business cases required. They’re already sold on the idea that time can be managed!

But can time really be managed? In my opinion, no. Priorities can be managed but then you’ll find yourself constantly juggling with them… leading you to a burnout. Essentially, that’s the story of our lives. We just try too hard. All the time.

One of the best books I’ve ever read on productivity is The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz and Dr. Jim Loehr. It’s a GREAT book and a must-read for anyone who cares about productivity and peak-performance. The 4 principles covered in the book will alter the way you think about your life. For good.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s it all about:

Principle 1: Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Principle 2: Because energy diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.

Principle 3: To build capacity we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.

Principle 4: Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.

Courtesy: Optimize.me — check out Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Note.

If the principles sound a little abstract, I would highly encourage you to read the book. However, focus on Principle # 2 — Because energy diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal. This is all you need to understand why your energy levels alter the way you work and feel throughout the day.

Makes sense?

Action points: for tomorrow’s checklist, segment your tasks by its intensity. The most difficult ones go first (make sure you don’t have more than 3) followed by slightly less intensive tasks and easy ones.

It’s a simple trick that has worked wonders. Of course, this is just a template… that will evolve over time.

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