Energy Management or Time Management
There is a lot of material that has been written about Time Management and its close cousin Productivity. There are many (including yours truly) who obsess about Time Management as Time is the only Finite Capital that we have. However, we miss out a key element of Productivity (and giving our best) when we only look at Time Management and miss this critical part. What do you think is the Missing Part? It is nothing but Energy Management. Time Management without Energy Management is like a rocket with no or low fuel.
I was on a Zoom call with a distributor a few months ago. On the call itself, I could feel a lack of energy from this gentleman. His body language, posture, smile (rather the lack of it), eye contact, the tone of his talk all pointed towards very Low Energy. Even if he manages to optimize his time, he is unlikely to have an impact in prospect meetings or client conversations. Thus, Energy Management becomes extremely vital for all financial professionals. I cannot tell you enough on how important this is for your long-term success. By the way, while this distributor had a lot of issues that he had to fix, the first one was to manage his Energy.
So how should you manage your energy and how should you utilize this in your work? These are 2 critical questions that I will tackle one at a time. First let us look at Energy Management. The 3 key things to Manage your Energy are Eat, Move, and Sleep. A 4th one that is super important and one that I am personally starting to introduce in my daily routine is Meditation.
I always knew the importance of Eat and Move. I have always made it a priority for myself. However, I used to always think of Sleeping as a Waste of Time. I realized my mistake after reading interesting books and research on Sleep. I figured how important a pillar Sleep was and it was the foundation on which the other 2 pillars of “Eat and Move” rested.
Some of the wisdom that I have heard is:
“1 More Hour of Sleep is the Best Diet” or
“Sleep Debt > National Debt”.
In this context, Sleep Debt means that we are overall sleeping less as a nation and this is impacting our ability to create value. I started with a practice of sleeping 8 hours instead of the 5-6 hours I was getting earlier and realized that I was getting a lot more done by 12 pm. Often I would have accomplished a lot more by 12 pm than I would by 6 pm with my earlier practices.
So, what changes did I do to accomplish the above? I did 2 things. I set up a sleeping bedtime alarm and I started sleeping at the same time every day. There was never a need for a wake-up alarm (and I am pretty sure you would get similar results) and I was absolutely fresh in the morning. Thus, it is essential that you master your Sleep Ritual. Do not think of your Sleep as a Routine thing; Think of it as a Ritual. Thus, your Day starts the Night Before. Yes, you read it right, your Day starts the Night Before with your Sleep Ritual. Now that we have addressed this, the next thing to nail is the Move part and finally the Eat (Nutrition) part.
The simplest MOVE thing you can do is to Walk for 60-90 minutes. You can listen to Podcasts while you walk or just let your mind Wander and Think. This is one of the best times to Think (beyond the shower thinking and the Thinking time that you have set if at all in your calendar). There are very few who will have thinking time on their calendar so your Walk can serve both purposes (Move and Think). I must caution though that please be careful while walking (I mean be mindful to avoid accidents). Alternatively, you can Run, Lift Weights, Do Yoga, Dance or 10 other things on the Move front.
Finally, you got to eat wisely and less. I know this is easier said than done and I am Still a Work in Progress on this front after 47 years. One thing to follow is that your last meal should be done at least 3-4 hours before you sleep. Consult a real professional to eat and move wisely; it is one of the best investments you would have done. There is a lot more to write on the Eat, Move and Sleep subject but more insights in future posts. For now, the key is to do this consistently in this order for your Energy Management.
Once you have nailed the Energy part (this is not a onetime activity; it needs to be practiced every day), the next and most critical part is to match your energy to the work you are doing. The most difficult work that you do should be done when you have the highest energy during the day. If you are like most people, your energy will be high during the first part of the day. Do not waste it on Watching Markets, Reading Commentary, and other monkey things. Do your most important tasks such as Prospect Meetings, Client Meetings, Prospecting, THINKING and Writing in the first half of the day. If you have a key meeting to tackle, do it in the first half. Even attending real powerful workshops in the first half of the day will work better than attending after-market hours as these key workshops are a part of your work too (I will be writing a post on the 4 Types of Work shortly along with the order of the work). The first 4 hours of the day are thus extremely important and how you invest these will determine the quality of your work and how much you get done.
Did you know the number one reason people give on why they procrastinate? The reason is “I am Tired”. If you are tired too or feel like giving this reason, then go get some sleep and tomorrow morning, match your energy to your most important work.