Why Self-Care Is the Best Strategy for Productivity

I’ve been talking a lot about energy management recently because it has changed the way I approach my working day, my down time, and life’s commitments. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say it’s completely changed the way I approach life, full stop.

What I have realised through sharing my knowledge and understanding of energy management, is that what I am really talking about is self-care. Self-care being the way that you organise the things you need to do in a day, week, etc, in order to get things done and come out feeling fantastic. Prioritising you so that the rest flows.

People often ask me why energy management is so important, so I want to delve into this a little bit from the perspective of self-care. Let’s approach this with ultimate priority; before you consider or implement any other productivity or self-care strategy.

Energy management is managing your work and your productivity around your energy levels. This is a totally different approach to time management which involves organising your productivity according to your clock and your calendar.

Time Management is changing your energy according to your schedule.

Energy management is changing your schedule according to your energy.

Energy levels fluctuate throughout the day (and week!), and everyone’s levels fluctuate in different ways. Being in tune with this and adjusting your schedule to work with your energy is going to change things dramatically.

If you’re the kind of person who has been using Time Management as your productivity tool of choice, you’ll be used to blocking out time on your calendar, colour coding your schedule and writing a plan for the day according to the time it will take to complete certain tasks.

But have you ever considered that completing tasks in this way depends entirely on your energy levels? How often have you tried to do something that you know should take you about 10 minutes, but instead it takes you an hour or more? This is not just your challenge. It happens so often that it even has its own name: “The Planning Fallacy.”

The time that something will take depends on the energy you have, and if you are trying to manage your time without a good understanding of managing your energy it’s not going to be as efficient, accurate, or productive. The same is true for project management and task management.

Changing your approach to working in this way is, at first, going to take some dedicated thinking and discipline. However, as Time Management has become ‘the way’ in which you have done things for a while now, Energy Management can soon become ‘the way’ too.

I strongly recommend that you start a bit like this:

  1. Track and document your energy throughout the day for a week or two.
  2. Review this tracking and identify your high energy rhythm and low energy rhythms. You will see that your body has a natural cadence, and you will also discover where you are fighting against your natural rhythm.
  3. Once you have done that you can start tweaking your habits and routines so that you are working with your energy.
  4. Don’t try to plan a full day or week to start with. Instead, get into the flow and tweak your plan from there

One of my favourite ways of looking at Energy Management vs Time Management, is that time is not a renewable resource, but energy is. And you’re in control.

And this is really where it connects into the notion of self-care, and of the ultimate end result, which is a productive, fulfilling life which doesn’t feel as though you’re battling to get things done all the time.

My own experience with creating this shift in my life has been incredibly rewarding. More work done in less time. More time spent with family and friends and doing the ‘non-work’ things I love to do. More enjoyment from doing the tasks that we – as business owners – inevitably have to do to get on with things. There is little point in having time for the rewarding things in life if there is no energy to have fun and enjoy them!

So, let’s bring this all back to self-care and acknowledge how it has the potential to greatly impact your productivity levels.

  • Self-care is giving yourself permission to do the tedious jobs when you have the right energy levels to do so, and not feeling guilty about having not achieved more at a particular time of day
  • Self-care is enjoying your high energy work sprints – however they fall in your day or week, and feeling satisfied that you’ve accomplished great things
  • Self-care is acknowledging that your energy levels are different to others’ and so by managing yours in the way that suits you best, your productivity has a fantastic chance of coming into its own

Now replace “Self-care” in these three points with “Energy Management”, and you’ll see how connected these two things are.

Let’s start managing your energy levels, shall we? I’d love to help you start the process. Fill out the Energy Audit …….. 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.

Call Heather