When asked, most people today say they feel like they have more to do than ever before. They also say they have less time and energy, despite technology that seems almost magical in some cases. In fact technology, along with many other changes, has made life busier, not less.
Most of us are running on an energy deficit these days. Sometimes it seems the goal is to get just enough gas back into our depleted tank to make it through the day versus keeping it topped off.
I operated on a deficit for years, despite consuming the latest time management tools, technology and productivity hacks. While those helped a bit, I mostly just got busier, more tired and had more things to do (including having to keep up with the latest system!). I confused time with energy and as a result had less of both.
To move beyond the energy crisis and into thriving requires a different view and approach. By focusing on and managing energy instead of time, we can get more of both.
Types Of Energy
Unlike a machine, human beings require more than one source of energy. The truth is we need four. And in order to use these for optimal performance we must value and know how to process each of them:
- Physical= Energy Quantity. The dichotomies are Expenditure vs Renewal. Knowing how to slow as well as go is vital.
- Emotional- Energy Quality. The dichotomies are Confidence vs Humility. Knowing and operating in your strength is key; knowing and embracing what isn’t is just as vital. Learn to feel good about both because how you feel profoundly affects how you perform.
- Mental- Energy Focus. The dichotomies are Analytic vs Creative. We need both and where focus goes, energy flows.
- Spiritual- Energy Purpose. The dichotomies are Self-care vs Service. You can’t give what you don’t have so protect the asset (i.e. you) as you give to something greater.
How You Can Get More
The pattern is that each type of energy has it’s own unique quality and opposite characteristics. Just as with Virtues, we must embrace opposites if we are going to flourish in life and business.
Indeed, it’s the pattern of embracing and integrating opposites that provides the rhythm of life and ability to engage in high-levels of sustained performance. Athletes have known this for years; corporate athletes have ignored it for years.
Time is a fixed resource…..everyone gets 24/7/365…..and there isn’t a single thing you or I can do to manage or get more of it. Our energy on the other hand, is a resource we can renew if we’re willing to embrace the oscillation between opposites it requires. Interestingly enough, when all aspects of our energy are renewed and focused, we get into a state of flow that can transform how we experience time.
Focus on and manage your energy, not time, and you’ll end up getting more of both.
Question- do you expect things to get more or less busy for you in the next year or two? If busier, what are your plans to manage your energy to keep up with the demand?