Many leaders and professionals who want to be more productive put a lot of focus into managing their time and looking for ways to trim their workweek. However, many overlook the importance of learning how to manage their energy.
No matter how well a person manages their time, if they’re wasting energy, they won’t be able to reach maximum productivity. Below, nine members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share their best tips for anyone who needs help managing their energy, not just their time.
1. Tidy up your workspace.
Author Gretchen Rubin said, “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” As an architect, I am keenly aware of how much our environments impact our well-being. When I’m feeling drained, I take a few minutes to get my workspace in order, and it makes all the difference. – Michelle Mongeon Allen, JLG Architects
2. Set aside time for your physical and mental health.
For me, it’s important to dedicate time to maintain mental health and exercise. Give yourself an hour a day to work out. Between meetings, get up and walk around, stretch a bit or grab some chips. Take a break for lunch, and do so away from your work; it will help with energy and maintaining your focus. Also, I feel it is very important to sleep seven to eight hours on a regular basis to allow for a clear mind. – Michael Ayjian, 7 Wonders Cinema
3. Develop a healthy morning routine.
Start your day right. A healthy morning routine will help you get focused, organized and in the right state of mind. Wake up at the same time each morning, exercise, meditate and set your intentions for the day. These are simple (and fast) tasks that can impact your energy levels exponentially. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency
4. Find ways to reduce the time you spend on enervating tasks.
We all have tasks on our plate that give us lots of energy and others that drain our energy. Evaluate which category you are spending your time in, and identify ways to reduce the time spent on activities that drain energy. Delegate or just stop doing as many of the things as you can that drain your energy to ensure you can build your energy while you work. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting
5. Avoid multitasking.
Multitasking drains a lot of energy, so try to avoid changing your focus repeatedly throughout the day. One great technique is task batching. It’s everywhere now, and it’s really helpful. Sort your tasks during the day by similarity so you don’t get pulled in many directions at once. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Practice mindfulness meditation.
Meditating has been my most valuable superpower in corporate leadership. By adopting a mindfulness meditation practice, I can better control my mind and how I react to everyday situations — even stressful ones. If you can control your mind, you can control how you react to whatever happens in your life and in your business. Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting
7. Start the day by reading the previous day’s emails.
A top way to manage your energy and time is by going through all your emails from the previous day so that you start each day fresh and ready to tackle whatever comes at you, instead of potentially already feeling behind if you are playing catch up from yesterday’s emails. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
8. Build a personal ‘anti-burnout toolkit.’
Many of us are used to going from “0 to 60,” but we need to flex our “60 to 0” muscle, too. I recommend building a personal “anti-burnout toolkit” that includes physical, mental and social tactics. Yours might include exercise, meditation, asking your social safety net for help or getting out of your day-to-day routine by learning a new skill. Sometimes, it’s just about learning to say “no.” – Brantlee Underhill, Project Management Institute
9. Tackle your most challenging tasks during your most productive time.
Prioritize and work on the things that are most challenging in the time that you know you are most productive. If you’re a morning person, try to do tasks that require focus, creativity or critical thinking at the beginning of your day. If you’re someone who is energized by meetings or discussions, that may look like blocking time on your calendar right after a meeting to work on bigger projects. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group