Time-management vs energy-management

Do you obsess over getting the time to get all the stuff you want done? Well, maybe you’re doing it wrong? I was.

I’ve spent years trying to perfect my time-management. I tried to perfectly time everything, and ended up running from one thing to another — not really being present in anything. Even in my sleep I was thinking about all the things I needed to get done.

Needless to say — that’s not very good to your mind or body.

Always being stressed and behind on sleep made sure the quality of my work was never at it’s best, and that stressed me out even more. It all changed when I decided to stop focusing on time-management, and began to focus on energy-management instead.

I started to go to bed early (around 22:00), and get up earlier (around 06:00). I also started (and this is the secret sauce) doing the really hard, complicated and/or boring stuff first.

Instead of jumping into my inbox and letting people decide what I should focus on, I choose the tasks that would give me the most progress. The problem was that my subconscious usually picked the easy wins that really did not matter in the big picture. But that made me feel good then and there, before I evolved into even more bad conscience. But by doing the tasks that gave a big progress first something happened.

I discovered that it was a lot easier getting my “bad conscience” tasks done as the first thing in the morning. My willpower, energy and ability to focus was much stronger. And as I started reading up on things I realized that I was not alone. A lot of people think that we have more willpower and energy early in the day. As the day pass by, and the longer we stare into a screen it starts to sink dramatically.

It’s easier to be re-active then pro-active when you select the tasks you should be working on. Re-active gives us the feeling of small quick wins, but being pro-active keeps you ahead of the game, and gives you a long-term win instead. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do every morning, but wow — when you get the hang of it, your days feel so much better. I sleep better, I don’t stress things and I have much more energy. More energy gives me more time to do the things that matters to me. In both my professional and personal life.

So try to focus on your energy instead of the time the next few days — you’ll feel a big difference. I promise. You’ll have the energy to do the stuff you want. Instead of being half present, half asleep, when you try to do the stuff you want to, you’ll feel well rested and present in the moment instead.

And that’s awesome. For yourself, and the people around you.