No one likes an overcrowded inbox, and too often we can find ourselves saying “Well if I only had an extra 15 minutes in my day I’d be able to make it to inbox zero”. That’s a nice thought, but no matter what improvement you attempt, it will still feel like you’re running out of time. If only there were more hours in the day, right? Well, perhaps part of the problem has nothing to do with time. What if instead of managing our time we began to manage our energy?
The practice of energy management can actually help you feel more fulfilled and successful than mere time management. Why is that? Well for one, time is a finite resource, and energy is a replenish-able resource. There will only ever be 24 hours in the day – no matter how much we wish for a time machine, that’s the reality we’re stuck in. Committing to the practice of energy management, allows for more efficient work. That way you end up accomplishing more even though the amount of time stays is constant.
So, I’ve sold you on the concept. Now, where do we dive in? According to leadership coach Craig Groeschel, energy management is both a science and an art. Basically, there’s no right way to do it. Start with a little experimentation and data gathering for yourself. What are some of the daily tasks that drain you? What parts of your day energize you? The more granular approach you take to this process, the more effective the changes you make will be.
While this process is relatively individualized, it can also be a great way to promote company wide wellness. Introducing healthy energy management practices could be exactly what your employees need right now. In fact, 82% of surveyed companies have taken actions to enhance employee wellbeing during the pandemic.
Once you’ve gotten a fair amount of data points, you should be acutely aware of just how much a messy inbox can interrupt the flow of your workday. Now, it’s time to establish set rituals and rhythms into your day that will soothe the pain of those daily struggles. These rhythms will be unique to you. What works best for you might not work best for the rest of your team, and there is nothing wrong with that. One of our co-founders Jameal loves to start work bright and early to maintain his creative momentum for as long as possible. Meanwhile, our CMO Despi, prefers to do her heavy-lifting tasks in the middle of the day. Allowing our team the flexibility and freedom to own their routines makes for an overall more functional & productive team workflow.
The decision making process about what is best can be a huge leak in your energy tank if you aren’t careful. Once you establish some routines, and have found patterns that work well for you, make a commitment to keeping with them.
All those routines and rituals won’t make a difference, if you aren’t also becoming conscious of your habits outside of the 9a-5p. Good energy management also means recharging with fun activities after those more draining tasks (I’m looking at you messy inbox) are complete. Employees who take breaks are not only more productive in the end, but they are drastically more motivated for success. Forbes Magazine found that, “81% of employees who take a daily lunch break reported having a strong desire to be an active member in their company.” A break doesn’t always mean doing nothing; sometimes a simple change in location or activity can help give your brain a break from the more energy-consuming tasks. For front-end designer Cody, “repetitive, calming activities give [his] brain a chance to disengage by designing systems that yield creative solutions”. Find the thing that recharges you, and make space for it regularly to ensure your energy tank never runs on empty.
Energy management doesn’t make those pesky emails disappear from your inbox. What it does do is create a more productive and fulfilled version of you. In turn that means a drastic increase in the production of meaning and fulfilling work. And that’s really the only kind of work worth doing.