If you focus on managing your energy, your time will manage itself.
Do you believe that?
A few days ago, I had a meltdown. And not a pretty one. Is there such a thing as a pretty meltdown? I don’t think so, but suffice it to say that I didn’t act much better than my toddler.
The cause? I pushed myself to work on a project well past my bedtime. I’m not a night owl, and I know this about myself. I was on the brink of exhaustion and incoherency when I sat down, and yet I still convinced myself that this task absolutely had to be done right then.
What happened is that I spent an hour working on something that likely would have taken me 20 minutes if I had done it at 6am and not 11pm.
This also led to a minor panic attack at work the following day when I was overwhelmed with so many different tasks I needed to work on that I didn’t even know where to start. I had more work and was getting less done in a given time frame than I would have if I had gotten a decent night’s sleep.
I took a breather, skipped a non-critical meeting, had a mini-vent-my-overwhelm session with a trusted co-worker, and was able to pick a critical task and make good progress, as well as finish out the rest of my day.
This has nothing to do with being a morning person or a night person, or with getting a recommended number of hours of sleep per night (although getting enough sleep is also highly important). It has everything to do with knowing yourself well enough to know when you are at your peak and when you aren’t, and planning tasks accordingly.
If I make one poor energy management decision per day that costs me an average of 45 minutes, that’s over 5 hours per week, almost 23 hours per month and a whopping 273 hours per year. That’s the equivalent of almost seven 40-hour work weeks.
What could you accomplish with an extra seven weeks of working time per year?