Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Is time management really energy management?

Do you have enough energy for what you want to do?

So many people are busy managing their time, and yet they can do nothing to change the number of hours in a day or days in a week. The calendar programs and expert tips all talk as though 5 minutes were always 5 minutes. And yet, you have experienced 5 minutes as an eternity and 5 minutes as a heart beat. In NLP, we would say that your state determines how much time 5 minutes contains.

When people complain they don't have enough time, I wonder if they are really saying that they don't have enough energy. It's a much different question and harder to solve with an app. It would mean that instead of auditing how productively you spend your time, you would need to understand your personal economics of energy.

What if every activity consumes energy but some activity also produces energy? You know this is true. It always takes energy to get started. But sometimes you are so engaged in something that you become more energized as you go along. Your energy may temporarily require a rest, but overall that activity may linger in the background and keep you motivated for days. You can think of things you love to do that have this effect on you: when you do them, you are energized by your activity.

When you were very busy doing things that produce energy, you would have the focus and motivation to move through many events or interactions in a single day. Each moment might open up into flow and allow you to accomplish more thinking in less clock time. You might find that you were able to hold the bigger picture well enough to think in patterns instead of pieces. Others would be amazed at how fast or deep you were able to go.

If your calendar seems too full, maybe it's not your time management at fault. We all know people who are very busy with very little on their schedule, and other people who always have time to connect although the don't have time to list all their activity in a calendar or an app. If your day feels overwhelming, perhaps it's not the number of activities that is the problem. Perhaps you haven't scheduled enough activity that generates energy.

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