Time and Energy

How are you spending your time and energy?

As much as we tend to group those two things together, they are really not the same thing. That was reinforced for me this week as I was reading an article and stumbled onto this statement that stopped me in my tracks: Energy is a renewable resource. Time is not.

Wow. Talk about speaking into a leader’s life in the midst of a pandemic. Energy is a renewable resource. Time is not. How much time have you spent in recent months doing things that sucked the energy out of your life? Amid reports of remote staff spending more hours working than ever before . . . the endless stream of emails about webinars distracting/promising to help you find a path through these “disruptive times” . . . trying to make the best decision in the midst of ever-changing variables and contradictory guidance . . . have you ever looked up, completely depleted, and wonder what happened to your day?

Yes, leading entails some responsibilities that can weigh heavily at times. All the more reason we need to clearly understand what energizes us, what goal we are working toward, so we can tap into the “flow” that allows us to maximize and grow the impact of our efforts. A few tips to consider:

“Shoulds” take time.

Shoulds are someone else’s expectations imposed on you. They expend your time but do nothing to build your energy. Interestingly the same activity, when tied to a goal you embrace, can serve as an energizing indicator of progress. Which leads to the next consideration . . .

Clear goals build energy.

The clearer the goal, the easier it is to build the motivation — the energy — that will propel you forward. The more specific you are, the more you increase your momentum (in effect, renewing your resources). That momentum also helps you view the tough stuff you are likely to encounter on the way as forward progress rather than a drain on your time.

You get to decide.

We all get the same amount of time. You can spend it defensively, responding to the goals and expectations of others, or proactively choosing, and clearly articulating, the destination you are working toward. One path allows you to check the box at the end of the day. The other gives you the resources to step forward toward new possibilities.

Energy is a renewable resource. Time is not. Choose wisely.

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