Take your time management skills to the next level

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Time management is a hot topic in almost every profession. Time is the only resource we all have the same amount of each day. It is valuable because unlike other resources, time is limited. Everyone juggles countless work projects, family responsibilities, and personal care. It often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we feel we should be doing. So how do we manage time?

I believe time management starts with defining it. There are certain responsibilities that we cannot simply drop from our plates; for example, we can’t just stop showing up for work, getting dressed, or eating regular meals – at least not if we want to survive and succeed. However, regardless of the number or type of demands on our time, we can be intentional in how we manage our energy.

Energy management is another level of time management that stems from self-awareness. This self-awareness allows us to identify the activities that give us energy and those that drain it.

For example, you may dread making those customer phone calls, but you may have a colleague who likes to chat on the phone. After the two of you have been on calls for an hour, you may need a break to refuel, while your colleague feels more energized and ready to make the next call.

We’re all energized by different activities, and it’s important to structure your time in a way that maximizes your energy. It is self-management. When you are aware that a certain activity, such as data entry, budget work, etc., may be draining your energy, but you still need to do it, you may need to set a timer to complete the task, then reward yourself by doing something that energizes you. When you follow up an exhausting activity with something that energizes you, like a walk outside, a cup of coffee or a snack or even a project or task that you really enjoy, then you can come back to life. next activity with more energy. Otherwise, you risk ending up with nothing in the tank and not being able to use your time effectively.

Managing your energy can take some time to really understand, because even if you love a task, it can still drain your energy. For example, I love leading classes, but if I lead classes back to back, I know it will drain my energy. I learned that after a long day of classes, I need to recharge my batteries by spending time alone; otherwise, I am not myself and I am not fully present with people.

What signs of low energy do you notice? Do you get sick, angry or irritated easily? Are you starting to focus on the negatives instead of noticing the positives? Does your stress level seem perpetually high? When these things happen, it’s time to take a step back and identify the energy drains and intentionally incorporate more energizing activities into your day.

Another way to manage your time and energy is to combine tasks when you can. For example, if you have to have a meeting with a colleague and walking energizes you, can you walk and talk? If not, plan to take a walk right before or right after the meeting to keep your energy levels up.

When it comes to time and energy management, not only are self-awareness and self-management important, but social awareness and relationship management are also key considerations. It is equally important to respect the time and energy of others. Learn about your colleagues so you know what tasks energize them or how they like to plan their day and you can find the best time to schedule meetings and conversations.

We can try to plan our days down to the minute, but inevitably something or someone will alter your plans. To succeed in energy management, be flexible with tasks. It’s also important to remember that just because something pops up and supersedes your plan for the day doesn’t mean other tasks go away. You probably need to find more space/time in your day for them. It can be helpful to create flexible time slots in your day to accommodate these changes. It can also help set boundaries and expectations for yourself and others when managing your energy. It often takes intention to make this change happen, but it can be worth the effort.

Managing your time is the basic level of ensuring you will complete tasks, but managing energy can help you complete tasks more efficiently. It can also leave you feeling less exhausted. Energy management can be the key to finding balance in managing your life.

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