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Time Management vs. Energy Management: Energy Wins

October 20th, 2016

Time. The elusive, inanimate object that everyone needs more of, yet the thing we seem to waste the most. For the working individual, time, and more specifically time management, can induce major stress. Some weeks we plan, schedule, and manage our time well. Other weeks… not so well. During those weeks of anxiety caused by a lack of time management, what can we do to remain level headed and accomplish just as much as we had during the weeks where we managed our time well? Simply put: managing your energy. Energy management is an approach that often succeeds where time management fails. Learning to harness your energy can reduce stress, increase productivity, and give you the time to relax when you need to.

Unlike time, energy is something that we can change and renew by taking simple steps. Getting the right amount of sleep, eating healthier, taking short breaks during the workday to get up and move around, and other energy-boosting strategies can make a major difference. Of course, not all days treat our minds and bodies the same way; some days are filled with productivity and hope while others days serve stress and fatigue to us on a silver platter. Going through a daily assessment of how your mind and body feel each morning can give you an extra boost to get a start on some of those daunting tasks that lie ahead of you.

Prioritize. During times where you feel that your energy is low, perform tasks that don’t require as much effort as others. For example, a low energy task might be writing out an email, or, hey, maybe even a blog post! A high-energy task might include working out, doing laundry, or building that shed you’ve been meaning to build for three years. No matter the task, the important thing is to get through the bare minimum when you feel low on energy, then burst through the challenging items during high-energy periods.

Last, but most certainly not least important, is allowing flexibility in your planning. Build to-do lists rather than schedules. Schedules sometimes tend to make us feel as though we have to stick to a certain plan, causing stress when we don’t complete things on time. Unless there will be negative consequences if the task is not completed on time, IT’S OK! To-do lists, on the other hand, allow us to feel the weight lifted off of our chests and breathe when we cross items off the list. Learning to manage and harness energy takes practice, just like everything else, but time is a finite resource while energy is not. Energy and persistence will carry you steps ahead in life; you just have to learn how to channel your energy.

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