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Time Management Is a Waste of Time — Manage Your Energy Instead

The basic premise of time management is sound — arrange your schedule so you can effectively and efficiently reach your goals (which can be personal, professional or both). But all the calendars, to-do lists and bullet journals are useless if you are too fatigued to accomplish the tasks on those lists. Instead of focusing on managing your time, think about how you can manage your energy. Consider these six ways to gain more energy. Some of them will take time out of your schedule but the energy they give back will help you achieve more in the time you do have, and do so in a way that is sustainable for the long term.

Get enough sleep. The science on sleep is pretty solid. Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain, marital discord, poor performance and more. Not surprisingly, sleep has a profound effect on your energy. There are some people who can get by on four or five hours of sleep a night. You are unlikely to be one of those people. If you are often sick and irritable and you are getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night try getting more.

Maintain an exercise routine. After sleep, exercise is the best thing you can do to increase your energy level. If you are just getting started, begin with short workouts to figure out what types of routines give you the most energy. Play around with timing of your workouts too. Many people find a great energy boost from morning workouts. For others an afternoon session can help increase late-in-the-day energy levels. And, while you’re at it, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy. When I feel my energy flagging I immediately drink a glass of water. It’s amazing how often it does the trick!
Turn off your phone. The smartphones in our pockets can feel like magical devices. Used well they can keep us connected, make sure we show up on time and help us find our way around. But when they are used mindlessly they can sap our energy. One of the biggest culprits is checking work email in the evenings and on the weekends because it keeps you in “work” mode without actually being productive. If you want to use evening or weekend time to catch up on work, do so deliberately and mindfully. If not, keep the phone off until the next day. Do that for a few days and see how it changes your energy level.

Set ambitious but realistic goals. Having a goal that you are working toward will energize you but only if you think carefully about the goals you set. Setting a goal that is too easy won’t really motivate you, but setting one that is unattainable will eventually demoralize you. Choosing goals that are a bit of a stretch will give you the most energy. Make sure you break big goals into smaller chunks to help you maintain momentum. The science on sleep is pretty solid. Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain, marital discord, poor performance and more. Not surprisingly, sleep has a profound effect on your energy. There are some people who can get by on four or five hours of sleep a night. You are unlikely to be one of those people. If you are often sick and irritable and you are getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night try getting more.

Maintain an exercise routine. After sleep, exercise is the best thing you can do to increase your energy level. If you are just getting started, begin with short workouts to figure out what types of routines give you the most energy. Play around with timing of your workouts too. Many people find a great energy boost from morning workouts. For others an afternoon session can help increase late-in-the-day energy levels. And, while you’re at it, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy. When I feel my energy flagging I immediately drink a glass of water. It’s amazing how often it does the trick!
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