Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

A number of years ago my coach gave me a book to read, ‘The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy not Time is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. I think she could see that I was a black belt in allocating my time to up my work rate and working hours whilst at the same time feeling spent.

As the saying goes ‘old habits die hard’ and I have to consciously stop myself from scheduling longer days/weeks which tends to correlate directly to dwindling energy reserves. Fortunately, I received a ‘nudge’ in a recent Harvard Business Review article – Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy.

If you need a ‘nudge’ to prioritise topping up your personal energy levels so you can increase your capacity to get things done here is a summary of the idea from Schwartz and McCarthy …

  • Longer days in the office don’t work because time is a limited resource BUT  personal energy is renewable
  • Organisations can help employees to build their personal energy levels by creating simple rituals/activities  – brief breaks at specific intervals (creating a space to relax and refuel), expressing appreciation to others, reducing interruptions, spending more time on activities people do best and enjoy most (playing to their strengths), encouraging physical exercise through subsidised gym membership …
  • Individuals can prioritise practices for renewing the four dimensions of personal energy:
    • Physical Energy
      • Enhance sleep – set earlier bedtime and reduce alcohol intake
      • Exercise – cardiovascular at least 3 times a week and strength training once
      • Take brief but regular breaks, away from your desk at 90-120 min intervals throughout the day
    • Emotional Energy
      • Take at least 3 deep breathes to defuse negative emotions
      • Express appreciation to yourself and others. At the end of every day write down 3 personal achievements no matter how small
      • Reframe frustrating/upsetting situations … “how will I view this in 6/12 months time?” or “what can I learn from this”
    • Mental Energy
      • Do high concentration tasks when you have the best energy – are you a morning or afternoon person?
      • Respond to voice and e-mails at designated times in the day
      • At the end of each day identify the most important task for the next day. Make it the next days priority
    • Spiritual Energy
      • Identify the activities that give you energy – when you are so absorbed you lose track of time. Find ways to do more of these
      • Schedule and allocate time in your diary to what you consider most important to you. If exercise is important is it in your diary/schedule? If it’s not scheduled it’s not important
      • Get clarity around your core values and reflect on whether your life is aligned to what matters to you

If you want to find out more about our Resilience Training Workshops contact us on 0333 016 4800 or email

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