How to Manage Energy to Get More Done
In the last blog, we said, by managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably.
This is counterintuitive to most people. The idea that taking time to take care of yourself will help you get more accomplished seems odd. And so, knowing this, you will have to make a commitment to just try it. If it seems odd or ineffective in your head, that does not mean it will ultimately not work in practice. Time management is an experiment. Try some of these things and see for yourself how, or if, they work to make you more productive in the end.
How to improve energy levels? Here are few thoughts:
• Close open loops. When you have a lot of open tasks, that tends to sap your energy. If you complete one or two or several, you will start to feel better. Most people know that there is a joy in crossing things off the list. That comes from accessing the energy of completion. Crossing items off your list is just one example. Another is planning your projects out in writing so that mentally you know how and when you will get them done. This will also close that loop and make you “feel complete,” even though you have not finished the project.
• Get enough sleep. Many of us “manage our time” by working late into the night, then getting up early and going back to work. But you know as well as I do that this makes you less productive the next day, no matter how much Red Bull you drink. You cannot buy time or create it. Those few extra hours you work at night are not “found;” they are stolen. You are taking them from your sleep time. That will show up in the end.
• Take regular breaks. There is research that shows 54 minutes working and 6 minutes taking some kind of break will result in better and more work being accomplished than 60 minutes an hour working without breaks. And yet this seems like it would not work. This is a good example of where energy management can make you more efficient and productive. When you manage your energy, you will be able to manage your tasks and your time more effectively. In this way, you can then complete more in 54 minutes than you would have in 60. Amazing; try it out and see.
• Do one thing at a time. If you have heard me speak or read any of my time management materials you already know that I believe multi-tasking is a fallacy. You can only do one thing with focus and presence – effectively and well – at a time. And trying to do a lot and focus on a lot is exhausting.
• Meditate. Often we feel tired because of how much we tax our brains. Meditation is a great way to give your brain a break and also teach yourself to focus better. Higher energy and better focus adds up to greater productivity.
In the end, most any time management tip that is useful to you is probably really an energy management technique. Let us know how you manage your energy! Comment to this blog.
Here are some of the many resources and studies showing the effectiveness of managing your energy and taking breaks on work productivity:
BTW, I found all these articles by a google search of “taking breaks makes you more productive.” If you are interested, search it yourself. There are many more.
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