I often hear people saying, “I don’t have enough time.” I’ve believe what they really mean is “I don’t have enough energy.”
As I coach, I first ask whether my clients feel engaged in their work. Then I ask about any family or health issues that may be preoccupying them. If there are some, I find out if there is any action they can take to resolve them. I also ask whether they are getting enough sleep, enough time at full rest, and enough exercise.
Here are a few creative actions my clients took to re-energize themselves:
- Juan greatly improved his energy by taking a 20-minute walk/run with his new puppy every morning.
- Irene switched to a four-day workweek to be able to spend more time with her two young children.
- William sought a family therapist to help with problems with his son, who has attention deficit disorder.
- Alfred began taking his children to the golf course every Sunday for an outing.
- Jenna went to a sleep disorder clinic to find out why her sleep was constantly disrupted.
These kinds of actions helped these leaders avoid the burnout that so often accompanies people in demanding roles. When you’re a leader, you don’t have to prove yourself with a superhuman effort or superhuman time commitment. Sustainability is more important. And to achieve that, you have to know what re-energizes you. It’s all about discipline and knowing what recharges your batteries.
Managing time often is really about managing energy. It’s not just becoming more efficient. People often will try to do two things at once – take calls in the car while driving home, for instance. But if the person previously used the drive home to unwind and recharge, now they’re not giving themselves time for that. They’re still working.
You really can’t cheat time. The “clock of life” is wound just once for all of us. No matter who you are or what you do, each day you only have the same amount of time. We must learn to treasure it, manage our energy so as to use it most intentionally and sacredly.
- If you don’t know what re-energizes you, ask the people around you. Ask your mate what he or she notices about your behavior – when you’re up or down – and what led to it.
- Also, keep an energy journal so you can zero in on when you lose your energy and when it’s at a peak. Write in the journal what factors into your high-energy moments. Accept that you need these stimuli to boost your energy.
- Ask yourself the questions I ask clients: Are you fully engaged in your work? Are there family or health problems that are preoccupying you? Can you take some action to resolve them? Are you getting enough sleep? Enough full rest? Enough exercise?
- Take a nap.
- Spend time on activities that give you a full sense of purpose.
- At the end of each day, reflect on how you have used your time. What was your intention for the day? How did your day turn out? Did you manage your time and energy well?