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The Secret to Getting More Done in Less Time

You think managing time is the struggle. But what if I told you that’s only one piece of the puzzle?

I know. You wan’t a quick time management trick.

But, there isn’t one.

I work with people who all too often think they have a time management problem… They say, ” Carlene, if I could just learn to block my time better then I would be a SUPERSTAR at what I do.”

And yes, that will probably work in the short term.

But life will happen and you will start to notice that you have another problem.

So what’s the answer????

You need to shift your focus from managing your time to expanding your capacity – in other words – your energy, be it physical, emotional, or mental energy.

This is the secret sauce to getting stuff done – focus on expanding your energy instead of managing your time.

Here are 4 Key Shifts to Make

Shift #1:

From: Time Management
What you plan to do within a certain amount to time.

To: Expanding Your Energy
The energy you use within a certain amount of time.

Shift #2:

From: Time Management
Deciding what priority requires your attention.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Choosing when each priority gets your attention based on your energy.

Shift #3:

From: Time Management
Using a structured process for completing tasks in controlled environment.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Being adaptable to complete tasks, even in unpredictable circumstances.

Shift #4:

From: Time Management
Working for efficiency.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Working for effectiveness.

If you want to expand your energy to be more productive with your time, you need to ask yourself:

Where do I have limited energy?
Where do I have a limited ability to handle situations?
Is it emotionally, physically, or mentally?

While time is a finite resource, energy works differently.

Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors has an energy consequence.

Energy diminishes with both overuse and underuse, so it’s important to balance energy use with energy renewal.

Energy is a renewable resource, but only up to a certain point.

Scheduling every minute of free time to increase productivity may seem like a good use of time, but it doesn’t account for the need to replenish energy.

Some tasks also require more energy than others. High-energy tasks can’t be done productively when your energy is already eaten up by an already over scheduled day.

Have you ever had more than enough time to get your stuff done but because you lacked the energy to be effectively productive, you never finished?

That’s exactly why time management is not enough.

3 Specific Steps You Can Take to Expand Your Energy So You’re Performing at Your Best.

Step 1: Start by setting your boundaries

No one knows your energy limits better than you. By setting boundaries for yourself, you simultaneously protect your energy levels and motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

Create boundaries for how little or how much you want to accomplish in a specific day, depending on your priorities.

For example, let’s say you’re a therapist and your priority on a given day is to meet with patients. You get to decide how many therapy sessions to conduct in a single workday.

You may say it has to at least be one, but no more than six in a single workday.

Or, you could decide that you never hold sessions with patients on Fridays – you hold that day to get administrative work done.

Setting these boundaries for yourself can help you stay on-track while helping prevent burnout.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust those boundaries over time.

For instance, you may find that only one or two therapy sessions a day is too little time to keep up with your patient-load, and you’ve found that you’re capable of increasing your maximum number of sessions per day without feeling burnt out.

On the other hand, if you set your boundary to eight sessions a day you may find it necessary to decrease your numbers.

Step 2: Include Rest and Recovery in Your Plans

When managing your energy, it’s important to thing about downtime. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, rest and recovery should be planned out so that they’re part of of your schedule.

While it’s true that recovery takes up valuable time that could be otherwise used to work, it’s an invaluable part of a routine for expanding your energy.

For example, I end my day with meditation. This is very new for me. But I’ve found that taking time to be still and intentional with my thoughts improves my sleep and gives me the energy I need to have a productive day tomorrow.

When you give yourself time to rest, you’ll renew your energy levels and become more productive when you’re back at work. You’ll also experience more positive emotions if you’re rested.

Be sure to add this rest and recovery time directly into your schedule. This is important if you tend to get distracted by work.

Treat your rest and recovery time just like you would a doctor’s appointment. Even if you’re running behind on other tasks, resist the temptation to work during your scheduled recovery time.

Step 3: Keep a journal of your energy levels.

Unlike time, energy isn’t a constant. Everyone has 24 hours in a singe day. But energy levels will vary from person to person and from day to dy. This true for emotional, physical and mental energy.

There are several factors that will influence how much energy you have. To help you better manage your energy and get more done, keep a journal of what energizes you and drains you. You can track the elements in your work and personal life. These can include:

  • How much sleep you get.
  • Your diet.
  • The frequency and length of your breaks
  • Who you spend your time with (some people suck the energy right out of us, others expand our energy)
  • Physical activity or lack thereof
  • Types of tasks you perform.
  • What gives you negative emotions. (managing negative emotions is a huge energy drain)

Keeping a journal will serve several purposes to help you manage your energy.

First, you’ll become more aware of what you can realistically accomplish, depending on what your day looks like.

Here’s an example. Let’s say teamwork takes up a lot of energy for you compared to working alone. After too long in a team meeting, you begin to have difficulty focusing.

If you have several tasks that require teamwork in your day, you’ll know that you need to schedule more breaks and take it easy for the rest of the day. This will make sure that you can be productive during your teamwork time.

Second, you can make lifestyle changes to maximize your energy levels. For example, if you find that doing exercise energizes you, then you can schedule more time to get a workout in every morning.

And if you discover that long. and infrequent breaks don’t work for you, you can take shorter, regular breaks instead.

Finally, keeping a journal can also help you keep a pulse on your core values. What do you really value and want to spend your energy on?

Wrapping it Up

When you start incorporating ways of expanding your energy into your day, you’ll be amazed at how well all those time management hacks that have had you so frustrated in the past will actually start working for you!

Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,

The Fail Proof Planning System

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