Energy management drives personal performance – everything from self-care, nutrition, productive habits and routines, and a particular area for leaders, maintaining energy-level awareness to better manage your tasks.

We each have our own unique energy cycle. There are times of the day that we feel more energetic or exhausted, and those times vary greatly among individuals. Early risers get up well before the sun, crossing tasks off their list before a lot of us get out of bed, while night owls stay up late doing amazing work long after others have drifted off to sleep. One cycle is not better than any other, so instead of feeling frustrated that the 4 a.m. wake up is not for you or that you are nodding off by 9 p.m., take some time to really listen to your body and understand your own energy cycle.

Start by keeping an energy journal. Record a simple entry at the top and bottom of each hour, writing how you feel in terms of your energy. For example, “9 a.m.: wide awake, feeling good” or “2:30 p.m.: sleepy from lunch, struggling with focus.” Over a couple of days, you should have a good understanding of when your energy is conducive to a more productive state or to more of a sustainment state.

We tend to accomplish easy tasks when our energy level is high because it feels good to cross a task off our list. We get to feel a sense of accomplishment. This tends to push those more difficult (and likely less desirable) tasks to times in our cycle when energy levels tend to be lower, making us even less likely to take them on.

Consider a counter-intuitive approach to the task-to-energy relationship. Schedule your most important or most difficult tasks when you tend to feel the most productive and save your less important or easier tasks for when you tend to feel less productive. You will complete your most important tasks each day when you feel creative, energetic, and productive. This alone will result in sustained high performance.

To explore this idea one step further, consider when to schedule energy-producing tasks, or more simply stated, those tasks that you just enjoy doing. As a Solutions 21 consultant and coach, I enjoy working with high-performing leaders. My coaching sessions energize me. I tend to have higher energy levels from early to late morning, and this is when I delve into my most important or most difficult tasks. I tend to have less energy as the afternoon progresses. My coaching sessions are important to me, and I also know that they pick me up a bit; I derive energy from them. Scheduling them in the afternoon when my energy levels tend to be lower counter-intuitively helps me to step up my performance, sustaining a high performance throughout the day.

 

  • A Quick Plan for a New Habit
  • Keep an energy journal.
  • Understand when you tend to feel energetic and when you do not.
  • Understand what tasks require a lot of your energy and which ones do not.
  • Schedule your most important or your most energy-draining tasks when you tend to feel more energetic.