5 terrific exercises to conquer time and energy

Grow your perspective and manage your energy

Today we explore three articles that help us conquer our time and energy management. In fact, one of the articles suggests we should focus on managing our unlimited energy resources more than our limited time resources! We also look at what one CEO of five companies recommends we focus on, but we start with five very easy five-minute exercises that will increase our productivity many times over.

Time and Energy Management

5 Easy Ways to Gain Perspective

How can the power of 5 help you revolutionize the way you manage your time? This article is another gem from Entrepreneur.com that emphasizes the importance of time management through valuing individual moments. Contributor Sarah Kauss (Founder and CEO of S’Well) says one of the keys to the management of her own time is discovering the power of 5 (5 minutes, that is). In this world of startups and 24/7 businesses, it’s often difficult to carve out even 5 minutes for reflection and the development of mindfulness in our lives. However, as Kauss reminds us, we’ve all been given 84,600 seconds each day. Taking just 300 of those seconds (5 mintues) to quiet our minds and reflect can be hugely beneficial to our overall productivity. “This is what I call a small commitment to gain big returns, both professionally and personally,” Kauss claims. And she has developed 5, 5-minute exercises to help us to this end. Not surprisingly, one of the exercises involves creating and cultivating a check-in network – a tapestry of people you know and trust, who can be sounding boards for you and anchor you in the moment. 5 minutes developing those kinds of relationships is 5 minutes well spent! How might this idea apply to us as musicians or lovers of classical music? Can you think of ways you could manage your time to include enjoying a piece of music with together with someone else, even if it’s only for 5 minutes? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Related Reading: Getting Things Done: Learn the habits of highly productive people….in 5 minutes (Getting things done, time management, prioritization, organizational skills, get things done, David Allen) by Gavin Bird.

Career Advice for anyone, really, from Margaret Heffernan

How can we structure our time at work to achieve maximum productivity? International businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan recently gave a TED talk (I love TED talks!) entitled “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work” (you can watch her talk here). In this blog article, she discusses a few of the insights she offered in that talk, and expresses some fairly unconventional time management advice for the workplace. Her main suggestion? Build social capital. “Social capital is a form of mutual reliance, dependency and trust. It hugely changes what people can do,” Heffernan asserts. It develops when people spend time together. In this age of technology and high productivity, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we are smarter, better and more productive when we work collectively rather than in an attitude of self-reliance. So she suggests that if you want to increase your productivity at work and use your time to its fullest, take a coffee break with your co-workers! Invest in getting to know those around you and allowing them to get to know you. Develop rich relationships. The same can be said in our discussion of sharing a love for classical music. Music (especially live music) is relational. It is best enjoyed together. So build some social capital in your life. You can begin by inviting someone to attend a concert with you this weekend! Related reading: Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes (TED Books) by Margaret Heffernan

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

What an intriguing article this is from the Harvard Business Review! It is quite lengthy, but it is absolutely chock-full of wonderful time management advice based on scientific study done by authors Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy of The Energy Project. The premise is that while time is a finite commodity, energy is not. Energy, as seen coming from 4 wellsprings of life (the body, emotions, mind and spirit) can be constantly renewed, if we take the time to evaluate and invest in each of these areas. The authors tested their theories by taking employees of several Wachovia Bank and putting them in an energy management program. These employees ultimately not only outperformed their fellow workers, but also reported greatly increased satisfaction in both their jobs and their personal lives. Amidst all of the rich insights in this article, one that I found particularly challenging was recognizing that there is often a significant divide between what a person says is important to him and what he actually does. The authors suggest that developing rituals can help with this problem. In other words, work out a pattern that would routinely give space to your priorities (i.e. turn your cell phone off at a specific time in order to spend uninterrupted time with your family, etc.). How about carving out time to enjoy some good classical music (or better yet, sharing it with someone else)? The mental, emotional and spiritual refreshment it provides will have huge benefits to your energy management! Related reading: HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself (with bonus article “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen) by Drucker, Christensen and Goleman

Photo: “Watch, time, hands” by Wil Stewart is licensed under CC0