Managing Your Energy is More Important than Managing Your Time

2160249580_e52586e83d_z (1)As leaders we hear much about time management. With all the responsibilities of leadership comes an acute concern for time management. I constantly hear things like:

  • “I am trying to keep up.”
  • “I have to guard my time.”
  • “I don’t have enough time for my family.”
  • “If I only had the time I would….”
  • “I am too busy.”
  • Add a phrase which expresses your concern about time management.

Concern for proper time management is important for effective leadership, but proper energy management is far more important.

What many leaders are discovering is that, although they are able to schedule the time for certain projects or activities, when they get there they lack the energy to focus and be fully engaged. Then, what they could do in 30 minutes if they had the energy to be fully engaged takes 90 minutes instead. As a result they conclude that if they had more time, or if only they would manage their time more efficiently, they will get more done.

In the article, Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy address the issues of managing your energy. The authors provided a number of examples to demonstrate how managing one’s energy could make a leader as well as an entire organization more productive.

According to Schwartz and McCarthy, we need to understand the difference between time and energy,

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. Defined in physics as the capacity to work . . . .

What most leaders end up doing is trying to manage the resource of time while paying little or no attention to the vital resource of energy, that is, the capacity to work.

Schwartz and McCarthy suggest our energy is derived from “four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.” Therefore, in order for the leader to function effectively she must develop rituals and behaviors to renew energy in these four areas.

As I read this article, I reflected on my own experience of being over-worked and burned out. I realized that I was constantly wishing I had more time, while not realizing how depleted my energy was. I wasn’t getting enough sleep or eating healthy; I had lost my passion for what I was doing and my emotions controlled me. I wore tiredness and busyness as a badge of honor.

I think if most leaders would take time to do an inventory on their energy level and assess personal renewal rituals, they would discover their energy is depleted.

Read the article by Schwartz and McCarthy, examine the four areas they identify as our source of energy, and consider the suggestions they offer on how to renew energy. Likely you will find the case studies very convincing; the rituals and behaviors implemented by the participants were simple, yet powerful in helping them become intentional about renewing their energy.

Get people close to you involved in helping you to develop the kind of rituals that will make energy renewal a priority in your life as a leader. Let yourself be held accountable in this new pursuit and watch how it will transform your life as a leader.

Wouldn’t it be nice to lead without constantly feeling the pressure of time?

If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.

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