In this day and age, we’re inundated with time management ideas, theories, and tools. As an experienced business coach, mentor, busy mother and noni, I can assure you that I’ve tried them all – and you can learn from my mistakes!

In the middle of one such exercise, I was becoming blinded by the new colour coding in my calendar, when I realised that something had to change.

While it’s assumed that we can perform our best during any of the typical 9 – 5 working hours, the reality is a little different. After trying my hand at the Pomodoro Technique, and fighting the time tracker on my computer, I decided to take a step back.

Being honest with myself, I looked at when I was most productive, performing what I like to call an energy audit. I spent a week monitoring my attention, concentration and productivity, finding the times when I perform my best work – and when I need to take it easier.

Although it might seem frightening to some of you, my day starts with a spike of productivity between 3am and 4am! This is when I jump out of bed and jot down thoughts and ideas in my journal. Mind clear, I’m back to sleep until my next burst of energy from around 7am until 11:30am.

Like many of us, I have a lunchtime slump – I’m sure we’ve all experienced a daze at our desk after a big sandwich! Thankfully, the lights turn on again at around 2:30pm for me, before it’s all over rover at 4 o’clock.

While I previously hit my head against the wall, wondering why I couldn’t force myself to keep a consistent flow after lunch, my energy audit made me re-think the way I structure my days – and the myth that we should push ourselves consistently all day long. 

It’s crucial to realise when your energy peaks and wanes, so that you can prioritise your day. The results of my energy audit allows me to schedule my most important work at the times when my brain is at its best. While we expect to be able to function from 9 – 5 without a hitch, the reality looks a little more like this…

If we’re constantly forcing ourselves to make big decisions and tackle difficult negotiations at moments of low energy, no wonder we can’t get a handle on our workloads!

Now that I know when I have the most energy, I can schedule in tasks for my ‘unproductive’ down time. These slumps are when I answer emails, pop out for a walk or do some yoga – activities that allow me to recharge my energy.

Over my vast experience as a business owner, mentor and busy parent, I’ve realised that the idea of time management needs to be reframed. We all have the same 1,440 minutes in a day, but we don’t – and shouldn’t – use them in the same way.

As a result of my experience and the findings from my energy audit, I have changed my habits, altered my thinking and found a new mindset. It has been a fascinating journey – and I’m more productive than ever before! Finally, I’m listening to my body and working with it, not against it.

I’ve realized that the most important asset in my life isn’t time:  it’s my energy.

I can’t imagine having said this five years ago, but I no longer worry about managing my time. I’ve made the move from captivity to liberation.

We’ve all been stuck in a cycle where the harder you try, the less you seem to be able to achieve – something all the coffee in the world can’t fix it.

So, if you’ve found yourself stuck in Zoom meetings while driving, or struggling to manage stress while working from home, my number 1 tip for you is to complete an energy audit.

By checking in with yourself and your productivity over the course of one week, this will allow you to pinpoint when your energy is at its highest peaks. These times are when you should tackle the difficult parts of your business proposal,  schedule that meeting you’ve been putting off, or brainstorm your next marketing campaign.

At your less productive times, recharge through taking a walk, reading a good book, or even indulging in a 10-minute power nap – whatever works for you!

When we listen to our bodies, we can stop fighting ourselves, and work with the flow of our energy. Unlike everything else I’ve tried, it was my energy audit that unleashed a new wave of momentum. What are you waiting for?

Keen to learn more? I offer personalised “Do What Really Matters … Manage your Energy not your Time” courses or check-ins catered to you and your needs. .

Call Heather