Why Energy, Not Time, Is Important to Maximize Your Productivity
Episode #3 of the course Maximize your energy and productivity to live your best life by Linda Hardenstein
So far, we’ve identified where your energy level is and what having more energy will do for you. In today’s lesson, we’ll look at the difference between managing your time and energy and how it impacts your productivity.
No doubt about it, these are busy times. Having too much to do and too little time to do it can have you feeling overloaded, stressed, and drained. In times like these, people try to be as efficient as possible by cramming as many things as possible into a given day or block of time.
The definition of efficiency, according to Dictionary.com, is “to be able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort; competency in performance.”
But what happens when efficiency is the only goal? Have you ever focused on managing your time, gotten things done, and felt totally worn out? Where does focusing solely on efficiency, of which time management is a big part, leave you?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at four scenarios. As you read them, think about similar experiences that you may have experienced.
• You are at a 9 am meeting. The agenda is packed. Everyone moves through the items efficiently. Much gets done, but when you walk out at noon, you notice that you are feeling totally drained and it is hard to focus for the rest of the day.
• Your schedule is packed. Moving from one meeting to the next, there’s barely enough time for a bio break. Thank goodness for coffee! It’s the only thing that’s keeping you going. As the morning wears on, even though you’re on the move, you think about all the work that is piling up on your desk. You begin fuming. Your emotions go negative, and you feel frustrated, impatient, and irritated at the whole situation!
• You are home for dinner after a long day. You want to spend time with your family. Your kids are animated, talking about their experiences. You hear the laughter and realize that you’ve been thinking about work and haven’t heard a word they’ve said.
• It’s time to go to dinner to celebrate your sister’s birthday. You’ve been planning this for weeks, but you’re so exhausted from your workweek that you’re just too tired to go.
Can you relate? Take out your pencil or pen, and list three examples like this where you were being efficient, only to feel drained, frustrated, distracted, or exhausted as a result (state what you were doing and how you were feeling).
The problem with cramming as many things as possible into your day is that time is limited. There are only 24 hours in a day. Devote twelve hours a day, a couple of days a week, to get things done, and your level of efficiency will drop. You’ll discover that your energy is so low, a schedule like that is not sustainable.
Energy, unlike time, is not fixed or limited. It can be regenerated. The quality and quantity of your energy makes the difference between being focused or unfocused, staying positive or going negative, or being present so you can interact with people and get things done or being irritable, unbearable, distracted, or exhausted. With low or no energy, you’re compromised. You’re unable to carry out your activities, no matter how much time you have.
Your ability to perform, your health, and your happiness are all about taking responsibility for managing your energy. Do that and you’ll be effective, not just efficient.
Dictionary.com defines effective as: “to adequately accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.”
In the next lesson, you’ll start learning how to be effective by regenerating and managing your energy so there’s enough to be effective, to be present with your family, to go out, to have fun, and to have a life.
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