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Energy Management: Manage your energy, not your time!

By Suzi Finkelsten
By Suzi Finkelsten

Executive/Leadership Coach, Facilitator, and Board Director.

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Table of Contents

We have always heard people talk about working smarter rather than harder. But have you wondered about positively utilising your energy? Because time can be managed with the help of little guidance, you can distribute your tasks and then focus on them.

But what about your energy? How do you manage that? How do you ensure that you maintain your energy levels at all given points of time? As a coach, I find this can be pivotal to managing pressure and overwhelm. So, in this blog, I will share what I know about about energy management, how it differs from traditional time management, and practical strategies to optimise your energy for peak performance and well-being.

What is Energy Management?

Energy is a renewable resource compared to time, which is defined and constantly moving. So, when we talk about human performance and productivity, we are not only talking about time management skills, but we are also talking about the quality and quantity of work produced, which is influenced by the energy levels of the human being.

Individuals can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable peak performance by focusing on managing and replenishing energy levels. This skill is called Energy Management! Energy management can be divided into four dimensions – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy.

Mental energy—As the name suggests, it involves cognitive functions such as focus, concentration, and mental clarity. Mindfulness practices, which lower the cognitive load and reduce distractions, can help individuals sharpen mental focus and cognitive skills and boost productivity and problem-solving abilities.

Emotional energy—This is where we can explore the individual’s creative and connected side. If we tap into the emotional well-being of individuals by cultivating self-awareness, practising emotional intelligence, and fostering positive relationships, they can enhance resilience and become more creative at their work.

Physical energy—By cultivating good habits like proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and hydration, one can quickly improve physical energy, i.e., vitality and stamina, which are required for physical activities and endurance. Prioritising physical well-being is essential for maintaining optimal energy levels and resilience throughout the day.

Spiritual Energy—By tapping into spiritual energy sources, we can find inspiration, motivation, and fulfilment in their endeavours. Spiritual energy is our sense of purpose, meaning, and connection to something greater than ourselves. It involves aligning actions with values, cultivating gratitude, and nurturing spiritual practices.

How is energy management different from time management?

While time management focuses on optimising time allocation to tasks and activities, energy management takes a more holistic and proactive approach to performance enhancement.

Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Energy is renewable, but whether we talk about mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical power, it is limited compared to time. We allocate time frames to different tasks so that we can complete them on time.
  • Energy management focuses more on the quality of the work produced, whereas time management is about the quantity of the job done.
  • Time management may lead to more workload, stress and pressure, whereas energy management prioritises well-being, self-care and resilience.
  • Energy levels fluctuate throughout the day, influenced by sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress. Energy management acknowledges these fluctuations and seeks to optimise energy levels for peak performance.

Why time management is important?

  • If we aren’t managing our time, the important things aren’t getting done. Time management requires prioritising.
  • We can feel a sense of overwhelm when we don’t complete/achieve tasks. So time management is a key ingredient for wellbeing.
  • Time management leads to accountability, getting the right/important things done
  • When we say `yes’ to something, we are saying `no’ to something else. When we manage our time we are able to say “yes’ and take responsibility for the consequences.

What are the recommended strategies for energy management?

Mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, or mindful movement, can keep you relaxed, calm, and stress-free at any given point in time.

Self-care – By prioritising self-care, such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, hydration, and more, you will open doors for mental and physical energy dimensions.

Practice gratitude – By reflecting on what you’re thankful for each day, you will foster a positive mindset, enhance resilience, and boost overall well-being. Remember, `small steps change the dance’, so the wins can be small and make an impact.

Set clear boundaries – Defining boundaries around work, technology use, and personal time to prevent energy depletion and burnout. This can sharpen the focus.

Manage cognitive load – To keep your cognitive function active, it’s crucial that you don’t overload it with tasks; therefore, divide the load, take breaks, minimise distractions, and focus on one task at a time.

Build positive relationships – When we surround ourselves with supportive and uplifting individuals, we feel energised and positive. Social capitol is incredibly powerful, as humans we need to feel needed and part of a `tribe’. This requires focus and attention.

Find meaning and purpose – Connect with your values, passions, and goals to tap into spiritual energy sources. Take time to consider what is really important and how to manifest this.

Final Thought

Coaching provides a space to step back and explore how your energy can leverage your output. The work is about creating clarity and a sense of ownership of focus.

Time management and emotional management are essential skills to learn and practice. Time management might help us plan and produce quantitative results, but energy management will help us create quality work. Energy, when channelled in the right direction, can enhance creativity.

When prioritising physical energy, we fuel our bodies with adequate sleep, nourishing nutrition, and regular exercise, laying the foundation for sustained stamina and resilience. Emotional energy management involves cultivating self-awareness, nurturing positive relationships, and practising emotional intelligence, enabling us to navigate challenges gracefully and authentically.

By sharpening our mental energy through mindfulness practices, cognitive strategies, and focused attention, we harness the power of our minds to overcome distractions and enhance productivity. Furthermore, we connect with our spiritual energy by aligning with our values, finding purpose, and fostering gratitude, imbuing our actions with meaning and inspiration.