A Walk Along The Road

Nothing like a break ... reminder that we need to manage our energy levels not our time

Summer relaxing
I suspect I am not the only person currently or soon to be on a break or holiday from working as we enter the month of August.

Acknowledging my natural need to be 'always doing' I do have moments where I enjoy doing nothing productive or nothing productive as I would have previously thought.

I have had to learn to relax and find ways to renew my energy levels. I have spent years working without ever giving a seconds thought to my energy levels or the impact of low energy on my ability to work effectively.

I wonder how many of us stress and constantly try to manage our time ? And yet as was so well identified by Tony Schwartz

' the core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story '

and of course Tony was right ... you can't save or store time ... or indeed out run it !

What we need to do is ensure we manage our ENERGY and build up energy reserves to sustain us.

This requires a complete change of thinking and I have discovered that in reframing how I think about my energy levels rather than how much or little time I have .... I have changed my outlook on how I cope and I now don't consider or mention managing my time ... I am full focused on managing my energy.

In his article Manage your energy, not your time; Tony Schwartz provided a very useful and quick survey and I encourage you to try it ....

Which of the following statements are true for you ? and keep a score of those you agree with


I don't regularly get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired

I frequently skip breakfast, or I settle for something that isn't nutritious

I don't work out enough (meaning cardiovascular training at least three times a week and strength training at least once a week)

I don't take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch at my desk, if I eat it at all


I frequently find myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious at work, especially when work is demanding

I don't have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I', with them, I'm not always really with them

I have too little time for the activities that I most deeply enjoy

I don't stop frequently enough to express my appreciation to others or to savour my accomplishments and blessings


I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day, especially by e-mail.

I spend much of my day reacting to immediate crises and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value and high leverage

I don't take enough time for reflection, strategising, and creative thinking

I work in the evenings or on week-ends, and I almost never take an e-mail free holiday


I don't spend enough time at work doing what I do best and enjoy most

There are significant gaps between what I say is most important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy

My decisions at wrk are more often influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose

I don't invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to other or to the world

What is your overall energy score ? How many statements did you agree with ?

What is the potential impact on your energy? If you scored

0-3 Excellent energy management skills

4 - 6 Reasonable energy management skills

7 - 10 Significant energy management deficits

11 - 16 A full-fledged energy management crisis

This simple exercise may surface some interesting and challenging results for you.

I also liked the focus on the four areas of resilience / energy consumption ... Body, Emotion, Mind and Spirit ... a useful reminder of how complex our human needs are.

You may want to identify your score for each area under the headings Body, Emotions etc.

The scores for each section are

0 Excellent energy management skills

1 Strong energy management skills

2 Significant deficits

3 Poor energy management skills
4 A full-fledged energy crisis

It always amazes me how a simple flip of how you 'see' and understand things can completely revise your perception of the issue and how you should manage it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it has started you thinking about how you can manage your energy and stop worrying about time - enjoy your holiday!

  • Schwartz, T. (2007) Manage your energy, not your time. Harvard Business Review, October, pp. 63-70.
  • Try a little mindfulness
  • Leadership Development Training