Are You Running A Marathon Or A Sprint?
How are your energy levels today? Stop for a moment and answer that question honestly to yourself.
I’m interested because I am hopeful you’ve been consciously monitoring them – the patterns and signs – and I am hoping you’ve been adjusting your life to suit them too.
I am really glad you’re joining me on this journey of managing your energy in daily life as well as within your organisation. I have seen the incredible changes to my own productivity and energy levels, simply by acknowledging that I need different stimuli and moments of pause to manage those levels. Let’s not forget that we’re all different. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We all have to take the time to get to know ourselves better.
That’s part one. Part two is helping those you manage recognise and adjust in the same way. As a leader, your core work is to model the behaviour that is going to effect positive change for those around you. If this is done in a purposeful and well-managed way, you can expect your employees to be more focused and more productive, and not necessarily work any more hours.
When this change – managing energy, not time – is fully embraced and part of the daily rhythm, you will find that there is less concern about time management but more productivity as a result. It feels a bit backwards when you first embrace it, because let’s face it – it goes against everything we know of the standard 9-5 working day, and usual working week. But it’s worth it.
Take projects for example. Many people treat projects like marathons, working a 12-hour day at a slow, steady pace. But this pace does not necessarily make them more productive. In fact, they will likely only be working at around 60% capacity.
So let’s look at changing things up and working like a sprinter. Spend a high amount of energy on something for a short time and then seek rest and renewal. Working in blocks for 45 minutes, recharging for 10 minutes and working for another 45 minutes before recharging again allows you to focus and be more productive at around 80% capacity. That’s quite a difference overall! And you can see how it quickly adds up to much more productivity over time.
If you’re keen to embrace this, what does recharging actually look like? This is the fun bit, as a leader, to implement for your employees. Step away from your desk or station. Go outside, get some fresh air. Do something different. Listen to a piece of music or watch a fun video you’ve been meaning to watch. Step right away from the project, switch things up for your brain, and watch it bounce back into productivity mode like a moth to a flame.
With the right boundaries of course. First of all, model the behaviour you want to see. Take the breaks. Talk about the fun video you just quickly watched. Mention the weather outside, which you enjoyed while out for a 5-minute breather. Your employees are watching you manage your time, respecting those boundaries, and getting back into a productive work zone again.
Our attention is constantly distracted so being able to be mentally focused, and – as a leader – supporting people to manage energy, not time, will have a huge impact on productivity, the organisation and your people.
The other reward of this as a leader is knowing that this balance in an employee’s work day is highly likely to have positive effects on their personal lives. They’ve experienced some lenience at the office, they’ve been encouraged to look after them and their needs, and as a result they go home happier, enjoy their time with their friends and family more, and come back to work brighter than ever.
Let’s go back to the change part. Change is hard, scary, confronting, and one of the biggest challenges for businesses. Planning this change is where I can help, so please do reach out if you’d like to discuss an action plan on this front.
It won’t happen all at once, but even small shifts can achieve big results. Research is starting to prove that once you reach a certain number of hours per week, adding on more hours does not produce any better results. So with that I say, just don’t do it.
A great way to start is by filling out my Energy Audit. Download Now to help you understand where change could be made. Then commit to two things you’re willing to work on within the next 60 days to improve your energy. Don’t forget – this is about you. You are important. And your energy matters
Manage your energy, not your time. Let’s chat.