Why energy management is more important than time management

IMG_1365We know that it is important to spend our time wisely. But we don’t often consider how the management of our energy determines how we spend our time and to what effect.
“The challenge is that the demand in our lives increasingly exceeds our capacity . . .,” Tony Schwartz writes in Manage Your Day to Day (edited by Jocelyn Glei). “Unlike computers, however, human beings aren’t meant to operate continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time. Rather, we are designed to move rhythmically between spending and renewing our energy.”
“The good news,” Schwartz adds, “is that we can influence the way we manage our energy. By doing so skillfully, you can get more done in less time, at a higher level of quality, in a more sustainable way.”
To that end, Schwartz suggests two basic but essential ways we can improve our personal energy:
• The first is to do whatever is necessary to get sufficient sleep, which Schwartz says is even more vital for performance than food.
Tip: Disconnecting from digital sources of stimulation an hour or so before bedtime is an important way for hyper-connected educators to increase the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. (“No screens in the bedroom,” can be a helpful rule of thumb.)
• The second way is to take a 10-minute energy-restoring  break every 90 minutes.
Tip: A short, brisk walk during that break will do more to restore energy than a candy bar or a cup of coffee.
In addition, Schwartz recommends that we:
• Eat breakfast.
• Engage in regular exercise.
• Begin the day by focusing on tasks that add long-term value.
• Build learning and other forms of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual renewal into our days.
While many of us know about most of those things, we don’t do them habitually. As someone once said, “Common sense isn’t necessarily common practice.”
What methods or tools do you use to create a positive flow of energy throughout the day?

4 Responses to “Why energy management is more important than time management”


  1. 1 Karen June 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Dennis,
    Thanks for this great reminder of the distinction between energy management and time management. What an important quote from Schwartz that human “beings” are NOT meant to operate continuously. In fact, it’s in the “being” that I often find new reservoirs of energy . . . “being” fully present with my grangirls or when I take an early morning walk my dog, little Miss Angel.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks June 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Grandchildren and dogs… Two important elements of the good life! And I appreciate, Karen, that you reminded us that they help create energy as well as require it.

  2. 3 Patricia T. De Bello June 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    How healthy, productive and happy a school could be if these components could be followed by all who entered the building daily. Administrators, teachers,kids, building support staff…ready to learn, teach, help, support and grow together!!!

  3. 4 mc July 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    BIG HUGE insight…I am the only one who can carve out time within my “doing” to refresh my “being!”


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