In our lives we are given a finite amount of energy. How you invest our energy will determine your overall life and work satisfaction. It is important to make the distinction between managing time vs managing energy. Managing time can apply to any task that fits onto your calendar. Managing energy is about understanding what tasks make you feel energized, neutral or depleted — and then choosing where to invest your engagement. You will get far more accomplished when you manage your energy vs managing your time. Below are some tips to maximize your energy for success and satisfaction.
Take care of yourself first. In our society we are not usually encouraged to prioritize taking care of ourselves. This is a huge missed opportunity for individuals; and also for our societal progression and health. Having an excess of energy will create better working relationships and a higher quality of work. There are many benefits to prioritizing your health and well-being. This includes: higher job performance, fewer sick days, greater engagement, increased likability amongst co-workers and loved ones, and an overall increase in physical and mental health. If your cup is not full, it makes it much more difficult to give to others and to your work. Ideally you want to give from the overflow of your cup.
Do what energizes you. If you are not sure what energizes you, you can track your daily schedule for a week. Observe the activities you do in your daily life to see what leaves you depleted, neutral or energized. Write down what you’re doing as often as you can. Pay special attention to see if there are small things you can shift that can lead to a better experience. For example, “the team meeting would have been energizing, but it became depleting because Bob kept dominating the conversation.” In this case you may want to add to your observations possible solutions, such as, “I am going to suggest a format for our meetings that allows for all team members to have equal time to speak and share their ideas.”
Another option to help you identify what energizes you is to reflect on the following questions:
What interactions/tasks do I enjoy the most?
When does time go by fast?
If I didn’t have to go to work for a week, what would I want to be doing?
MORE FOR YOU
What is something I could do for eight hours and not get tired of?
When am I the happiest?
Apply what you have learned. There is a big difference between knowing and applying information. There is power in knowing what you love to do and also in knowing what you dislike doing. Both are equally important to understand. When you engage in tasks that drain you, you end up depleted in all areas of your life – this includes work, relationships and your general happiness. Put your newly found knowledge to work. Once you have learned what energizes you, you can start making adjustments in your life to do more of what you enjoy doing. Sometimes it is as simple as making little tweaks, such as delegating a specific work task. On the other end of the spectrum it may mean having to redesign your career. You can choose to take small steps or big leaps towards optimization of your life. It’s up to you. Either way, it is important to choose a format that works best for you and a time frame that fits your comfort and overall needs.
The bottom line is that where you invest your energy is the most important choice for living a fulfilled life. Your energy is your precious, nonrefundable currency and your time is your investment. Invest it wisely.