Forget Time Management…Are You Managing Your Energy?
By Jean Kelley

Phrases like “manage your time” and “do more with less” have become the buzzwords for this decade. The idea is that if you can manage your time well, you’ll be more productive in all areas of life. The only flaw in this thinking is that time is finite. In other words, you can manage time all you want and continually push yourself to get more done. But all this managing and pushing tires your brain, drains your spirit, and disengages your soul. That’s when mistakes occur and burnout ensues. The key, then, is not to simply manage your time, but also to manage your energy.

Unlike time, energy is restorable. And when you manage your energy well, you’ll have more energy for your priorities, whether they are personal or professional in nature. If you don’t manage your energy, you can’t manage your time. Sure, you can think about all the things you need to do and you can schedule them, but if you don’t have the energy to do the tasks, you won’t be able to accomplish them appropriately.

Realize, too, that managing your energy goes beyond work/life balance. While many people talk about work/life balance (devoting ample time to all areas of your life), few address those things that make life rich and fun. With so many things competing for your attention daily, you need to give attention to energy replenishment so you can devote the time your life’s priorities demand. This is why it’s important to manage your energy before you manage your time.

The Three Pillars of Energy Management
Keeping your energy in check means giving attention to your brain, your spirit, and your soul. Think of it like a three-legged stool. For the stool to be useful, you need all three legs. Remove one leg from the equation, and the stool topples over and is useless. The same is true for your energy. Therefore, to keep your energy replenished, implement the following suggestions into your daily life.

Stimulate Your Brain
The human brain likes control and certainty, and it’s very good at predicting the next thing that is likely to happen based on the information it has. That’s why you often feel better when you perceive you have control over a situation and feel stressed if you think you have no control over events. Additionally, the brain is programmed to fear. This is a good thing, though, because the inborn fear is what has allowed our species to evolve. The only drawback to this natural fear is that the brain will take three pieces of information and make a story out of it—usually a negative one. This negative story becomes your reality until you get another piece of data. Talk about an energy drain on your brain!

In order to replenish your brain’s energy, do the following:

Awaken Your Spirit
The human spirit yearns to soar. The spirit enjoys lofty goals and challenging tasks to accomplish. How spirited someone is often relates to how purposeful he or she is. In fact, it’s common that when people lose their purpose in life, they feel deflated and even depressed. Hence the phrase: “Her spirit was broken.”

An energized spirit is what catapults you out of the mundane and into a new and exciting endeavor. In order to replenish your spirit’s energy, do the following:

Feed Your Soul
The human soul likes the familiar, the deep, and the poignant. The soul likes ritual, doing the same thing at the same time every day. It also enjoys the simple things in life, beauty, and nature. The soul is what connects you to life and to what is deeply meaningful to you.

In order to replenish your soul’s energy, do the following:

By focusing on these three areas of your life—your brain, your spirit, and your soul—you’ll gain the much needed energy to tackle life with enthusiasm and zest. With your energy fully replenished, time will no longer be an issue. You’ll feel ready to handle anything that comes your way with ease…and you’ll do it much faster. So make it a habit to stimulate your brain, awaken your spirit, and feed your soul. It’s one investment in yourself you can’t afford not to make.

About the Author:
Jean Kelley, Industrial Sociologist and founder of Jean Kelley Leadership Consulting, has personally interviewed over 20,000 people.  She is the author of “Get A Job; Keep A Job” and “Dear Jean: What They Don’t Teach You at the Water Cooler.” Jean has positioned herself as America’s workplace coach. For more information, please visit

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