“Every one of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors has an energy consequence, for better or for worse. The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have . . . Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.” ~ Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz from The Power of Full Engagement
Check out any professional coach’s bookshelf; and chances are, you’ll find more than one book on the topic of time management. But what if time management isn’t the answer to getting more done? According to researchers and authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, it’s not. “Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal,” they say.
Manage Your Energy for High Performance
Grounded in scientific research and years of real-world experience, here are four key energy management principles (Loehr and Schwartz 2003) for high performance:
“Principle 1: Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.”
The foundation of all other dimensions of energy is physical. To grow your business and consistently perform well, you need adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, and intermittent periods of rest during the day. So instead of sitting at your desk willing yourself to complete your marketing plan or write another article for your blog, get up and go for a walk, call a friend, or do something fun. It may just give you that jolt of energy and creativity you need.
Emotional energy is also a key factor in high performance. If you sit at your desk all day, telling yourself you don’t have what it takes to succeed as a coach, it just might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, grow your confidence and skills through continuing education or self-study.
Take time to refuel mentally, too. You could sit at your desk for five hours, but if you’re mentally exhausted, you’re just wasting time and growing more frustrated in the process. Instead, the best thing to do might be to walk away from your desk. Take a day off, and you’ll come back to your work refreshed and renewed.
For the Christian coach, your spiritual health is of paramount importance. In addition to maintaining a strong connection to God through regular spiritual practices, be sure that your business plan is rooted in God’s plan and purpose for your life. Otherwise, it will all be meaningless, and you’ll find yourself chasing the wind (Ecc. 2:11).
“Principle 2: Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.”
Many of us expend far more energy than we have. If we consistently push ourselves beyond our limits, we will eventually burnout, break down, grow depressed, or die before our time. The converse is true as well. Without sufficient challenge in our lives and businesses, we will stagnate.
Self-awareness is key for coaches who want to build successful businesses. The most successful coaches stay within healthy limits.
“Principle 3: To build capacity we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.”
Unlike some people believe, stress can actually be good for us. In fact, it is the key to healthy growth. “We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity,” Loehr and Schwartz say. If we never challenge our muscles, we will never increase our strength. It’s the same with coaching and growing our businesses.
As Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
“Principle 4: Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.”
Change is hard. The secret to high performance is creating positive habits and rituals in our lives that sustain us.
Consider ritualizing your morning routine. Some people start each day quietly sipping coffee at the kitchen table and mentally preparing for your day. Others go for a jog. Perhaps your devote the first part of your work day to checking and responding to emails; or maybe your energy is at its peak in the morning, so you schedule your most demanding clients then. Whatever it is, make sure it works for you.
Do you manage time or energy? Which works better for you?
Loehr, Jim and Schwartz, Tony, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (Free Press Paper Backs), 2003.