manage your energy, not your time

manage your energy, not your time

“Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”

“We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.”

― Jim Loehr, The Power of Full Engagement

In the pursuit of achieving peak performance, many of us focus on time management, believing that we must squeeze as much as work possible into our limited, 24-hour days. However, this approach never works. If you think about the last time you pulled an all-nighter, you’ll quickly realize that working non-stop is not exactly sustainable and hence never the right strategy for the long-term. 

In order to perform our best i.e. unlock the power of full engagement, we must focus not on accomplishing more into our finite hours but instead figure out ways to do more with the time we have in our hand. The most effective approach to achieve this is to shift our focus from managing our time to managing our energy. 

Energy, not time, is the primary source of efficiency and high performance. Without it, no matter how much time we have at our disposal, we’ll never be able to perform at our potential and achieve our goals. So rather than optimizing your schedule, it’s much better to optimize the quantity and quality of your available energy. 

As counterintuitive as it may sound, a useful strategy to efficiently manage your energy levels and get more accomplished in a given time is to work less and take more breaks. Let’s picture a scenario where you work for four and a half hours straight. How do you think you’ll feel after that — upbeat and ready for more or totally exhausted and drained? The latter of course. You’re a human after all and no matter how many espressos or energy drinks you consume, you’ll still find it extremely challenging to maintain your concentration and be productive. 

When we focus on working for hours on end without a pause, it takes a heavy toll on our energy levels, thus making us less productive. Instead, it’s best to maximize our energy and hence our productivity by working less and taking frequent breaks in between. These breaks can help us relax and recharge our energy levels, fueling us to stay productive for a longer time.