I get asked a lot of questions, but this one comes up all the time. So, I finally sat down to outline my energy management techniques when I recently shared some leadership tips with the Audi management team. Inevitably, after we covered topics like change management and employee engagement, I was asked, “Where do you get all that energy?!”

Where do you get all that energy?! Charging battery

First, I enter each day full of energy, because I love what I do and who I do it with!

When the job is fulfilling, it’s easy to enter each day full of positive energy. Second, I start each day on my front foot. This means that I begin the day by meditating and considering what I want to get done. Only then do I begin looking at messages, which is a reactive behavior. Putting proactive ahead of reactive leans into energy vs. depleting it. That said, I also employ a range of energy management techniques, which span from micro to macro.

Where do you get all that energy?! slide

Micro techniques:

Block and color code your schedule, integrating your work and family schedules. This is practical, because it avoids schedule clashes. Also, it helps ensure you’re spending time on the things you deem to be a priority. By the way, BIO = Bio breaks. After all, we’re not robots! And WAT = Walking Around Time. It’s not unusual to spend all day in meeting rooms, or even in your own office. But what about that consistent leadership visibility we talked about before? Build in 10min WAT at least once a day.

Ban 60min meetings. Anything you need to get done in 60, you can get done in 55min, because meetings are entropic. Topics expand to fill the allotted time, so control the time you give each topic. As a result, you’ll give yourself and every attendee time to get to the next meeting or take a bio break. Importantly, you provide time to mentally close out this meeting before beginning the next meeting. This avoids burnout and helps keep the spirit fresh!

Decline all meetings without a clear agenda. Not to be a jerk, but to set the expectation that meetings ought to be productive. A productive meeting requires a clearly stated objective and must ensure that the right people are included. If either of these important elements is missing, graciously request both before confirming your attendance.

Macro techniques:

Define your run rate. And be aware that no one’s run rate should be at 100%! We need to leave a little flex capacity so that we can ramp up to 120% when something urgent requires extra time and attention. See, if you’re running at 100%, you leave no flex capacity for yourself. You’ll either lack the capacity to meet unexpected needs, or you burn out quickly. So, identifying your run rate (is it 85%? 90%?) allows you to retain that flex capacity when needed.

Build in replenishment time. After the burn, we must remember that replenishment time is needed to recharge. Be gracious with yourself, recognizing that you’ll operate better if given the chance for recovery.

Space out energy building vs. depleting engagements. This technique requires brutal honesty. First, pull up your calendar and color-code your meetings. Green for the ones that bring a smile to your face, and red for the ones that drop a pit in your stomach. Now, ensure you space out those colors. Perhaps you stack green meetings at the beginning of the day, so the red meeting doesn’t spoil your mood from the get-go. Or give yourself some mental and spiritual rest by separating two red meetings. Whatever works for you – just do it intentionally!

Balance the Micro and the Macro.

Where do you get all that energy?! Micro to Macro

Micro activities are not less important or less effective than Macro activities. In fact, small adjustments to your calendar management can have a big impact on your energy level! Give these techniques a try and let me know how it goes! And if you have any suggestions of your own, I’d love to hear about them.

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#timemanagement #energymanagement #selfleadership #calendarmanagement