Energy Management is More Important Than Time Management
If you speak to any ‘productivity guru’ or lifestyle advisor about how to get more done and feel more energized, then often they will tell you that the secret is time management. In other words, you need to think about how you’re going to fit all the things you need to do into your day in an efficient manner so that you have time. And they’re not wrong. This is indeed a very important aspect of getting things done and it shouldn’t be underestimated. At the same time though, it’s also crucial to understand that energy management is equally important – and possibly even more so.
What is Energy Management?
Many people seem to be under the impression that if they can ‘fit it in’ then they can do it. As long as you can find a free slot in your diary, then there’s no reason not to commit to that additional undertaking. This might sound reasonable but the reality is that there’s only a finite number of things you can do in a day. Even when you have the necessary time available.
The problem is that we require energy to function and if you’ve just spent all day doing lots of important tasks and dealing with lots of people, then you won’t have the necessary energy to devote to other jobs. It’s all very well and good accepting all those additional tasks but are you going to be able to do them to the best of your ability?
This is the reason that many of us end up procrastinating or just lying on the couch watching bad TV in the evening. There’s a limit to how much we can do.
How to Start Managing Your Energy
To start managing your energy then, the first step is to recognize that this is a finite resource that you do in fact need to manage. From there, you should think about how much you normally manage to fit into a day and then use this to try and ascertain at what sorts of times you usually start to run out. Learn where your limits are and avoid taking on more than that in a single day. Likewise, if you do need to fit a lot in, then find ways to ‘top up’ your energy levels throughout the day. That means perhaps taking the occasional break and it means eating energizing foods that will give you a boost.
How to Immediately Boost Your Energy Levels
Raising energy levels is really about playing the long game. In other words, it’s about thinking about the ways you can help your body to operate more efficiently such that you’ll get more energy around your body and be able to work and play for longer without tiring out. Exercise and diet changes are the best ways to do this but there are many others besides. Sometimes though, you need a quick ‘shot’ of energy that will be effective immediately. If you need to be productive right now but you find yourself tempted to just fall asleep, then you’ll be looking for an instant fix that can get your energy levels up again. Here are some that you can try that might just do the trick…
Take a Cold Shower
Cold showers trigger the ‘fight or flight response’ the same way that being very scared does. This means a rush of norepinephrine, cortisol, and testosterone all of which help make you more alert and alive. If you don’t have access to a shower at the time, then just stepping outside into the cold air can help.
Go to a New Environment
Sometimes a change of scene can really wake you up. The problem is that your brain is constantly assessing how important situations are and flooding you with specific neurotransmitters in response to that. If you’re in the same office you are every day, your brain will see this as not very significant and so will tell you it’s safe to relax. Go somewhere new and interesting on the other hand and you will go into an attentive mode as your brain tries to assess the new surroundings.
Jump Up and Down
Jumping up and down can get the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain and mobilize all kinds of systems associated with exercise and performance. If you are trying to convince yourself to exercise but you really can’t find the energy, try just jumping on the spot lightly and that might be enough to rev your engine and wake you up slightly.
‘Priming’ essentially means manipulating your mood in order to be ready for the task ahead. If you want to be romantic with your partner, then watching a rom-com together is an example of priming. When you want to be energized and productive though, watching something up-tempo and action-packed can often do the trick.