Managing your energy brings you the best performance.


Some people say that manage your time wisely. But Harvard Business Review comes up with an idea: manage your energy, not your time. How can it be? This ideology came from what Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr said in The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.

"The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us are not,” they said. The key message is to be a consistently high performer. You have to manage your energy, not your time. 

The Muse says if you typically manage your time—say, by creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, and scheduling dedicated time for each of those activities—you know how easy it is to get derailed in the course of an ordinary business day. A single email or conversation can break your focus or completely rearrange your priorities.

By managing your energy, you can bring your best performance to whatever activity that comes up, whether it’s being 100% present in conversations, contributing creative ideas in a meeting, or entirely focusing on a critical task. You can achieve results far superior to the incremental gains you might get from time management techniques.

The power of investing your energy instead of managing time wisely

In The Power of Full Engagement, Schwartz and Loehr argue that people need to match their energy to a task to excel. In their opinion, managing time isn’t nearly as important as managing how you invest your energy.


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“Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors has an energy consequence. The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have.”

We must push beyond our limits in the same way elite athletes do to build capacity. Specific routines for managing energy called ‘positive energy rituals’ are essential for engagement and performance.

Time vs. energy: are you prioritizing the correct resource?

The traditional way to manage your time is to divide tasks you need to complete and assign a specific amount of time to get the work done. For example, you give yourself the goal of completing three reports in two hours.

But what this method doesn’t consider is your energy. 52% of employees feel burnt out, and the obsession with overtime management could be partly to blame for this burnout.

While time is a finite resource, energy works differently

According to Better Up, energy is a renewable resource, but only up to a certain point. Scheduling every minute of free time to increase productivity may seem like a good use of time, but it doesn’t account for the need to replenish energy.

Some tasks also require more energy than others. High-energy tasks and multitasking can’t be done productively when your energy is already eaten up by a surplus of things scheduled in your day.

Over time, a lack of energy can cause a dip in productivity, even when there’s more than enough time to get the required tasks done.



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