Friday, June 17, 2011

Manage Energy, not Time

Many people, myself included, often wish there were more hours in the day. "If only there was time, I could do everything I want to. I wish I could do so and so, but there's just not enough time." Recently, I'm starting to realize that we have all the time that we need. Time is not the scarce resource; energy is. 

For the last several days, I kept a time log. Every fifteen minutes, I would jot down what I was doing. No matter how mundane, I made a note of it. As I expected, the exercise was revealing. I easily spent an hour or two each day just surfing the web... without consciously intending to. And it doesn't happen all at once. Fifteen minutes on Quora here, a quick ten minute glance through my Facebook newsfeed, and the minutes add up.

Why do I do this? Whenever boredom strikes and I'm not quite sure what to do next, I've developed the default habit of just finding content to consume. A quick cmd+T and pick one of my recently viewed sites, and I'm off. The tiny moment of boredom filled with an enticing news article or video. As far as I know, I'm not alone in having such a voracious appetite for information. But most people think the way to solve this is better time management. I posit that a better solution is energy management.

It's not that I need more time in the day, it's that I need more useful or high-energy time in the day. It's when I'm feeling low on energy when I most easily succumb to a quick news break. The goal then is not to aggressively time-manage, but to cultivate prolonged high-energy periods. How can we do this? I'm still searching for good techniques. Currently, I'm experimenting with yoga and breathing exercises to make myself feel more present as I go about my day. Have you found anything that helps you feel more energetic during the day?


No comments: