DEV Community

Cover image for Why You Should Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Sumudu Siriwardana
Sumudu Siriwardana

Posted on

Why You Should Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

What can you do to perform well and be productive every day?

Managing time can feel like the best approach. But if you are exhausted, more time or time management tools won't help! So how can we become more productive without risking our mental & physical health?

We always focus on squeezing more tasks into our schedule to perform better. Then end up feeling exhausted, stressed, and burned out. Instead, what we should do is find a way to do more with the time we have.

To do that, we need to shift our focus to managing our energy, not our time!

We can divide our energy into 4 categories:

  • The Body: Physical Energy
  • The Emotions: Quality of Energy
  • The Mind: Focus of Energy
  • The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose

Let's see how these 4 types of energy affect performance and what we can do to increase their capacity.

And then you would realize how you can truly balance your life, find more time to connect with your loved ones, and spend more time on your hobbies!

1. The Body: Physical Energy

Everyone is familiar with physical energy, the energy required to move and think. However, physical energy is not unlimited. We spend more energy per day than we recover. So, we need to recharge our bodies regularly to sustain a high level of energy.

Physical energy is our most important fuel! So how can we maximize our physical energy?

Our physical energy is depending on how we eat, sleep, and recover.

Food & Water

One of the sources of physical energy is healthy food. So we should take food that would maximize our energy, such as nuts, green veggies, etc. So make sure you add them to your diet every day.

Also, remember that drinking enough water is equally important!

Sleep

Another source to sustain & maximize physical energy is to recharge our bodies with regular rest.

How many mistakes have you made the last time you work late in the night?

The human body needs an average of 7-8 hours of sleep. Fewer hours of sleep make you feel exhausted!

Regular Exercises

In addition to preserving physical energy, we can maximize it by doing regular exercises. But, of course, this doesn't mean that you have to hit the gym every day.

You can take a walk outside, do some yoga in the morning, or maybe dance a little bit every day!

Regular Breaks

When we focus on managing time, we tend to work long hours without a break and end up feeling drained! To avoid this, take regular breaks every 1.5 hours or so by having a coffee or walking around. These breaks give you a chance to recharge and stay productive for a longer time.

Maintaining a high physical energy level helps our physical performance as well as mental performance. So find a ritual with some physical activities that you enjoy, which you can do in between breaks.

2. The Emotions: Quality of Energy

Do you remember the last time you did something simply because you enjoyed it, not because it was required?

By focusing only on managing time, we tend to postpone enjoyable activities we like to do. This increases our negative emotions!

This happens because we get positive emotional energy from doing things we actually enjoy. It's a source of emotional renewal, which helps us to increase our emotional energy.

So remember to prioritize at least one activity per day that you really enjoy!

3. The Mind: Focus of Energy

The ability to focus on our work and get things done faster is crucial for our performance. Unfortunately, one way that everyone is trying to do this is by multitasking. But it actually reduces our productivity.

First, we need to find ways to focus efficiently on our work. A temporary shift to check our phone or email will drastically reduce our time to focus longer. Eventually, this will become a habit, and you will no longer be able to focus for a longer time.

To avoid this, have a specific time allocated for checking emails, socials, and notifications. Start rituals that help you not to shift your focus from the current activity that you are doing.

For example, put your phone in flight mode.

Remember to live in the moment!

4. The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose

Spiritual energy is the source of motivation!

Spiritual doesn't necessarily mean being religious. It means making a commitment to our personal values that gives us purpose and compels us to act. What fuels our spiritual energy is to align our daily activities to a higher purpose.

To develop spiritual energy, we must have core values and a clear vision for ourselves. This helps us stop acting based on our immediate needs & desires, which gives us quick satisfaction.

Ask yourself what's important to you? What do you want to be remembered for? When you answer these questions, it will be easy to find your core values and your vision.

If you value "respecting others", put it to action.
Ex: Don't be late for meetings; respect others' time!

Developing and managing your spiritual energy will motivate you to perform well in what you are doing. In addition, when you have a sense of purpose, it compels you to prioritize and focus on important things that you need to accomplish.

Start positive Rituals to manage your energy

One of the tools you can be used to manage these 4 types of energy is "rituals". I'm not talking about religious rituals! 😀

Rituals mean positive, conscious behavior that we perform without thinking. We can't always act consciously! Rituals help us to balance the energy by performing without thinking.

Have you seen sports stars doing some activities before they start playing? How are soldiers preparing for combat? These activities make them make decisions automatically.

Find rituals that make you help balance these energy types. It could be, tiding your desk before you start working, or taking a deep breath 10 times when you are angry or stressed.

Having positive rituals helps us to perform at our very best!



Ever since I read "The Power of Full Engagement" by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, I started focusing on my energy and managing it.

This is how I'm able to manage my life with a full-time job while being a mom and focusing on learning.

I hope this will help you as well!

Discussion (12)

Collapse
veras_alvaro profile image
Alvaro Luz Veras

Thank you so much for sharing such valuable knowledge and wisdom. I recommend everyone willing to incorporate such benefits to make a step-by-step approach, just like italians say "pian piano". Incorporating one new habit at a time is much more efficient and sustainable over time, avoiding stress, anxiety and anguish by not accomplishing many goals once at a time.

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

Totally agree, Alvaro! Thank you for taking time to read this and glad you liked it 😊

Collapse
longqua69 profile image
Anh Tran

Thanks for great sharing. This post helps me a lot. I'm stucking with low energy. This post gives me a direction to keep my work-life balance.

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

I'm so glad to hear that it helps you! Hope you will be able to manage your time and energy better now 😊

Collapse
anshulnegitc profile image
Anshul Negi

keep writing..

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

Thank you for your kind words!

Collapse
dice629 profile image
Onoja D'BigChild

Thanks for sharing this insight. I never thought of it in this light. It's very much of an eyeopener to me. Of course, it did help!

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

Thank you for your kind words, Onoja! Glad to hear that it helps!

Collapse
measomvanessa profile image
Vanessa Measom

This is a great post Sumudu, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm quite low on energy right now so perfect timing to see the post.

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

Thank you for taking your time to read it, Vanessa! I hope you can use some tips here and improve your energy!

Collapse
patricspires profile image
Patric Pires

Thank you for sharing, keep writing :)

Collapse
sumusiriwardana profile image
Sumudu Siriwardana Author

Thank you for your kind words, Patrice!