You would probably agree that time management is a crucial skill for productivity. Another important skill to master is money management. There’s also people management, if you’re in a leadership position.
But for personal productivity there’s a key element that we often overlook.
By “energy management” I mean analyzing your energy levels and planning tasks accordingly. This is a concept that has been helpful for me, so let me break it down:
- Analyzing energy levels. Think about your typical week. When during each day do you feel the most motivated? When do you feel the most sluggish? When do you feel the most creative? If you want to get really technical, there are methods to track this, such as rating your energy each hour for a week and looking for trends. For me, reflecting on my week was enough to see that there are a few key times when I have zero energy and a few times when I’m feeling vibrant.
- Plan tasks accordingly. Once you have determined when you are the most energetic or the most creative, plan your week to take advantage of this. If you’re the type to wake up and feel like a zombie for a few hours, plan to save your most challenging work for later in the day, and instead schedule the tedious, mindless stuff for the morning. If you have a meeting that drains you at the same time each week, don’t plan on coming home to do a difficult and frustrating chore directly afterwords. If your creative juices are flowing after your evening stroll, you could consider planning your creative work at this time.
When put into practice, this can radically change things and help you avoid discouragement. I can see this very clearly in my life. My work schedule causes me to get home around 9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I used to try to plan a few simple tasks to do after work these days, like wiping down the bathroom or sending emails. Each week I would plan a few things and each week I wouldn’t get anything done.
After I started to think about it more, I realized that planning things for Tuesdays and Thursdays was setting myself up for failure because I wasn’t considering my energy management. By the time I get home on these days it’s late and I’ve been at work for 11 hours. I have no mental or physical energy left to use on anything else. I finally quit planning on doing anything and just allowed myself the time before bed to lounge around, and it was such a relief!
Planning something over and over and never accomplishing it is very discouraging. By making a mindful choice to use the right energy for the right task, you can improve your efficiency and get more done. It made a huge difference for me!
Do you use energy management when planning your week? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
If you liked this post, you may also like this post about my favorite productivity app.
My favorite planner is the Life Planner from Erin Condren. You can get it here. It would make a great gift for the Type A women in your life! For the gentlemen, I recommend a Moleskine planner like this one. So classy.
(Check out my affiliate link policy here)