Are you managing your time, or energy?


Time is the most precious resource we have. It's fixed.  24 hours a day.  Everyone gets 168 hours each week.   Skillful time management has long been regarded as a key to productivity.  By managing the optimum use of time, we can be more effective & efficient.  However, nowadays we have more to-do's than we have time for.  More options, choices, decisions to make than ever.  Time management is no longer enough to thrive. There is only so much you can squeeze out of something with a defined limit.  Also it's not sustainable to constantly push yourself to the max. 

Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the importance of employee well-being.  And that endurance of peak performance as a corporate athletic requires thoughtful energy management: personal #energymanagement.  We are familiar with the day before the long awaited vacation: jumping out of bed, turbo-charged productivity, focused, effective and upbeat!  It's an energetic day!  Contrast that with a day where you got up after hitting the snooze button too many times and have to be in a day-long meeting with people that entertain political bickering.  Both days have the same hours.  But your energy level is different.  And your outlook, output, resourcefulness & effectiveness fluctuate as per your energy level. 

Energy flexes.  We can generate, replenish and sustain our energy to achieve more with the same number of hours.

What I particularly love about the conversation on energy management is that it's holistic, taking a whole person view, a conversation that gets us closer to maximizing one's potential. The energetic role models that inspire me exudes physical vitality, mental focus & stamina, range of positive emotions and creativity.  And they share these 7 traits:

1. Sleep their way to the top

Literally.  Assessment done by the authors of The Mind of the Leader found that the more senior a person’s role is, the more sleep they get.  That senior executives have had the wisdom and discipline throughout their career to get enough sleep and thereby maintain a high performance level without burning out.  Research also shown a direct link between getting enough sleep and leading effectively.

2. Quality diet

Fuel the body with clean, whole foods, minimizing processed food, alcohol and other artificial stimulants. I personally do intermittent fasting, daily juicing, mostly plant-based diet. I started this regime for vanity reason. I stick with it for how it makes me feel.  Being attuned to how our body respond to different food and substances, having the tool kit to use food for energy is freeing and empowering!

3. Regular exercise

Exercise is a real energy booster, with many health benefits physically & mentally.  Key is consistency, make it fun and work for your lifestyle.  Swim, run, yoga, dance, rebound, alone or in group, indoor or outdoor.  The options are plenty and is also the thing that many people claim to "not have time" for.  The energetic role models know that this is a time investment that will give time back to you as it improves mental fitness.

4. Spiritual practice

Mindfulness practice is gaining popularity in the workplace.  Leaders citing meditation in helping with mental focus, centering, ability to respond calmly in high-stressed environment.  It could also be the everyday activities that if approached with intention and consciousness, feed the soul:  savoring a beautiful meal screen-free with your partner, music, paint, walk in nature - the amazing healing power of nature!

5. Discernment

Being vigilant in who and what they spend their time on.  Just like they don't put junk in their body, they are careful not to let in negative people, toxic media, draining social engagements in their home or calendar. They are unapologetic about the things they say no to.

6. Connected relationships

Loving family, deep friendships, supportive network that they serve and could lean on in tough time. These relationships give purpose and meaning to their external pursuits.  They understand that professional/financial success at the expense of things most important in life - health, family, community, is a lonely game that lead to regrets.

7. Simplify their lives

They avoid decision fatigue. In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It's one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.  Some simplify their choices: what to wear, where & what to eat. Some opt for more minimalist lifestyle.  They preserve energy for things that matter most.

The beauty of these 7 traits is that they build on one another - increasing your motivation to prioritize your wellbeing.  And as importantly, is the mindset around energy management.  There is no one definitive end point.  It's about taking daily small steps, making progress.  Uncovering and unleashing more of one's potential, one day at a time. It's an energizing way of life that ultimately help us to achieve more!