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Time Management or Energy Management

My recent health concerns have caused me to rethink my humanity. For the longest time I thought I could work through almost anything. I lived for deadlines. I was confident that I could get anything done in the amount of time that was allotted no matter what. 

Then it happened. My health failed. I have a legitimate physical concern, but I had a habitual overload issue as well. 

I used to (privately) laugh at people who would whine about time management at my seminars. I was sure they just didn’t know how to say no and even worse couldn’t tell themselves to go. I know that’s a rather arrogant place to be. 

Everything I have ever seen about time management took more time than it saved and always resulted in a frustrated user. So adding another tool to the toolkit wasn’t anything I was going to be open to doing. 

But the last three years have been a struggle. I started noticing I was slowing down. The long hours of focus were no longer as easy as they once were. I knew that time would come, but could it come when I didn’t have so much I wanted to accomplish? 

I’ve never been a fan of planning tools (insert time management tools). I have developed a system that works very well for me. A system that I described for a friend in this audio file:

A system that will serve you well to practice yourself. I’ve done the same thing over the span of three very different careers.  

However, the older I got, I found that I needed more. I didn’t need a planner. I didn’t need a time management system. I didn’t need an app. I needed a paradigm shift.  

The most powerful thing you have is what goes on inside your head. Once I get that figured out the process becomes simple and becomes reproducible. 

I’ve learned that you start with the things you tell yourself. No body is a greater influence on my life than me. What I tell me matters. If I can get me right then everything else will fall inline. 

I realized I was looking at time management from the wrong perspective. Yes, I could add another hour to my day. I would just start when everyone else was still asleep. That had always been my solution. I could function very well on a few hours of sleep. That allowed me to get more done than most. I was winning at the time game. At least I was…

I can’t do that anymore. Now I have to adjust my schedule and my workload around my health. That doesn’t fit my lifestyle. 

Change Your Thinking - Change Your Life

But it starts earlier than that. To change your thinking you have to change the way you see things. For me, I do that by changing what I call them.

When I stopped calling the decision-maker a decision-maker and started calling them the person who can tell me YES, my efforts got more focused. When I stopped calling a prospect a prospect and started calling them a prospective buyer I started treating them differently. 

To see time management in a new light, it needs a new title. 

Old Title - Time Management 

New Title - Energy Management

I would begin to see time as energy to be consumed rather than a commodity to be spent. 

The one form of energy I’m most familiar with is gasoline. I could see time as energy that has a limited volume. My car only holds so much gasoline and that will only get me so far. That reframing of time management will work. 

When I started thinking about time like gasoline in my car instead of minutes in my day, things began to change. 

Stick with me in this illustration.

Each day is like a tank of gas in my car. I have a trip to make. That tank of gas is all I have to get me there. It will be enough if I use it wisely. I really need some rules for that tank of gas: 

  • I'm not going to run around in circles burning up gas that doesn't get me any closer to my destination. I have a limited resource. Is this going to be the best usage of that resource...if I go here (when I should be going there) am I going to run out of gas before I get to my destination? 

    I'm only going to attend meetings that help me with shortcuts to my destination. Sometimes a few moments spent figuring out a short cut can result in getting to your destination or running out of gas on the road. Is this meeting about a shortcut or is it like being stuck in a traffic jam? 

When driving to a destination I use my GPS. It’s really a cool tool. It looks ahead and tells me what the conditions are like. Usually it will give me the shortest path to my destination. When someone asks, “Do you have a minute?” You must ask for what purpose. Just like consulting your GPS. Ever finished a conversation and said to yourself, “I wish I had that 20 minutes back!”

The shortest path will conserve the most energy. I’m not going to chase after things that are not part of my plan for that tank of gas. Instead I can combine things into a single trip so I don’t waste energy. See email comments below. 

  • I'm not going to take side roads that consume gas that I need for my trip. 

Each notification that goes off on your phone is an opportunity to expend energy. Its a side road. Energy has a limited volume. While I am writing, it’s the time I normally open emails. I stop long enough to eat and open my email server. I noticed that I missed out on 12 notifications between two people about should Manhattan be called Manhattan or New York? 

The real question isn’t even if I should have had the notifications turned off for that life changing exchange, but should I just opt out of that situation completely? Side roads that lead to nowhere, but that consume energy when you travel them. 
I open emails only three times a day: Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper. Each email can be a side trip to nowhere. It’s one thing to keep your email server closed except for designated times. It is another to open only important email and to ignore the rest. 

I work with several accounts and need communications from several people. I have a communication channel just for them. We don’t communicate any other way. This blocks many of those said roads that consume energy without getting me any closer to my destination. 

  • I'm going to avoid dead ends. 

Networking meetings, that don't have prospective buyers, viewed as an opportunity to tell people what you do, sound great, but if nobody cares who you's a dead end. Secret...know who will be there before you show up. That can be your DEAD END sign. 

When I’m driving to my destination and I spot a sign that says Road Closed or Dead End I don’t keep going that way. Things aren’t going to change just because I drive past the sign. Unless that event (define that anyway you want) has people that will make a difference in your life/business it is a dead end. 

  • I'm going to shut the car off when I stop. 

This one is huge! I find that I need to stop occasionally to rest. (This would not have been my choice a few years ago.) If I leave the car running the rest will keep me from my destination. So I shut down completely. Phone on silent, notifications shut off, headphones on to a guided meditation. The rest of the world is shut out. That 22 minutes is the equivalent of putting my car in economy mode. 

This is the hardest part of the journey to the destination. I get in a Zone and I don’t feel the need to shut down for fear that I won’t be able to pick up where I left off. Not true! In fact, I pick up where I left off with more clarity. 

This takes practice. I never dreamed I would have to practice resting. That really makes no sense. But just like I had created the habit of pushing myself for 40 years, I have to create a new habit of resetting myself daily. 

That is why I choose a guided meditation. Just like to be the best you need a coach. I needed a reset coach. I didn’t need a time management coach to make me feel guilty for not accomplishing more. I will get more done if I conserve the energy I’ve been given for the destination. 

  • Extra loads reduce the efficiency of the trip. 

Some people, some personal attitudes, some news information, and some notifications can add tons of extra weight that drain the efficient use of energy I’ve been given for my journey.

Reduce the load! Walk away from negative relationships. As the great Jeffrey Gitomer says, “People rain on your parade because they have no parade of their own.” It’s amazing what freeing yourself from negative people can do for your energy levels. 

Dump those news announcements that focus on (you guessed it) the news. That daily dose of garbage that gets dumped in the trunk results in a load that will reduce your energy efficiency. You can stay informed by giving yourself 15 minutes a day to find out what is going on and then move on to your journey. 

Dump those facebook friends that are determined to change your views about...anything. Ask yourself, “If my neighbor only ever wants to talk about his view on politics would I avoid him/her or go sit on their porch?” Then why do you invite those friends over to your Facebook porch everyday?

Share the load with people on the same journey. Surround yourself with people who share the same destination. Find people who share a positive attitude and make the journey together. Build each other up. 

Read deliberately! In the book, YES! Attitude, Jeffrey Gitomer has 20.5 attitude gems that are more than worth the price of the book. Read them, memorize them, carry them with you, share them with others, post them on your wall, study them until they become a part of your being. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. So when you lighten the load something will fill that space. Fill it with positivity that actually makes the real load lighter. 

This article on Energy Management is also found in the course Your First 30 Days in Sales 

Grab a Bonus $10 off coupon for First 30 Days in Sales 


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