It's Energy Management, Not Time Management

For nine consecutive years, info marketing guru Dan Kennedy had been a presenter at the #1 seminar tour in the US. You only have to be around Dan an hour to observe his certain kind of genius as well as understand that maverick is not an understatement. Despite his eccentric behavior he manages to hold on to some very sensible pearls of wisdom.

Dan’s definition of productivity “Peak productivity is the use of your time, energy, intelligence, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.” Try arguing with that one.

In this issue of “The Competitive Edge Report,” we will focus on energy management, not conservation of watts, but human energy. Time management is an overused phrase with minimal usefulness. I would argue that there are 24 hours in a day and no matter how well you try to manipulate the clock, you are still limited to the same number. Where there is more opportunity is in managing your energy, mental and physical, to make sure you are putting the peak power into the most important actions and decisions.

A blatant mismanagement of energy is seen with high school students. It’s a scientific fact that adolescents have saccadic rhythms very different from those younger or older than they. Aren’t most 17 year olds up until 2am and sleeping ‘til noon when they can? So what do we do? We ring school bells at 7:30 in the morning and expect sleep deprived vessels for hormones to get enthusiastic about the War of 1812 as the sun is rising. The teacher, who went to bed at ten and calls herself “a morning person” is raring to talk about Lafayette or the past tense of the Spanish verb for eating as her student are trying to figure out how to look awake when dozing. So is the fate of education’s underclass. When they attend college, the smart ones never register for an 8 am class or if they must, show up in their pjs with a triple shot latte.

Most of us have outgrown some of the hormonal predispositions, but not entirely. One of the great advantages of being a solopreneur, executive, and career coach is I can, to a large extent, dictate my schedule. It permits me to book coaching clients at my peak times and take care of more admin tasks during my energy lulls. I am also aware that my physical, emotional, and intellectual energies don’t necessarily coincide. In fact there is a certain twilight period in the morning when I am not physically fit for much but have some of my most creative ideas. I appreciate that to think clearly and be emotionally stable I must eat and hydrate. I know that sounds like a “duh!” but I cannot tell you how many managers and leaders skip meals, “forget” to eat, or have no water for hours on end. If living on a caffeine cycle is your idea of normal, maybe it’s time to walk away from that addiction and try some H2O.

Unlike students, most adults, particularly professionals and executives, have more control over time demands than they realize. I am a strong proponent of self-booking. I block out periods of time to accomplish important projects and I choose the best times depending on the nature of the work and it energy requirement. Research needs to be handled at a different time of day than writing this e-zine. I require a certain type of verve to design a talk to business executives than to write a coaching proposal for a HR manager. I know myself. I can sustain a high level of concentration for about an hour and fifteen. Because I have myself booked on the calendar, I am less likely to give it away. When someone asks for the time, it is easy to say, “Sorry, I am not available then.” Because it’s my time, I also have some flexibility when it becomes absolutely necessary to open a slot. Interruptions (more about this next time) are my nemesis, so closing the door, turning the ringer off, and blackening the monitor or staying only with the document, are essentials. A bottle of water, an open window, and reachable supplies eliminate excuses to step away.

Lack of mental energy is often the reason many people use for not starting or keeping the discipline of managing their careers. “I can’t get my To Do list, how can I find the drive to come to coaching?” So they wait, stall, until things get beyond the breaking point. They are drained from the every day, burning out or worse, making poor life altering decisions out of exhaustion.

People who manage their energy seem to have more time, partially because they get things done faster with less effort. They are often efficient and effective having planned their projects and allocated energy and time, and then scheduled it accordingly.

So here is your challenge

  • Observe your energy pattern. When are you most creative? Most analytical? When are you at your best with people and when is it advantageous to work alone?
  • Book, well in advance, periods to complete important projects. Try to be consistent with the day and hour. This way people start to realize “she’s never available early on Tuesday.”
  • Set aside thinking time and a period when you can reflect on accomplishments and opportunities. I schedule this the last Friday of each month. I know it is a time of few interruptions and periods like EOM (End of Month) tend to get my optimism juices flowing.
  • Finally, note how often you operate on empty. Identify the most draining parts of your responsibilities and consider some solutions. Try the delete, delegate, or do method. You would be amazed how many can be handled by the first two options.

I am always amazed how energizing the coaching process can be. Often clients come to a session dragging because of sleep derivation, stress, overwhelmed or lack basic sustenance. A bottle of water solves the last one and a dynamic, focused coaching conversation greatly reduces the symptoms of the former. Our coaching challenge is to find solutions to help prevent this drain from happening. Frequently, direction and a sense of power, generally hidden when energy is low, are necessary interventions.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website


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