You are eager to improve your time management abilities, because you know it’s going to be a game changer in your solopreneur business!
Hold on a sec, though — if you want to improve time management, there’s something you need to do FIRST. Too many solopreneurs rush into “time management hacks,” and they skip this ESSENTIAL first step… which means they end up exactly where they started, exhausted and overwhelmed and burned out.
Let’s talk about what you REALLY need to do if you want to get back your time, and to make it STICK for long-lasting sustainability…
You need the step before time management → ENERGY management!
In this video, I’m going to explain exactly what energy management is, how it differs from time management, the effect it’ll have on your solopreneur business, and a quick exercise you can use to determine whether a particular task on your to-do list is a TIME suck or an ENERGY suck — PLUS 5 practical actions you can take if you have discover that you do, in fact, have an energy management issue.
You might think that you have a time management issue if you never seem to be able to keep on top of your task list, or if you’re constantly putting out fires, or if you’re spinning your wheels and trying desperately not to fall behind, or if your days and weeks seem scattered and the overwhelm is caving in around you.
But here’s what I want you to know: Time management isn’t actually about time; it starts with ENERGY management!
What is energy management?
Energy management is about your capacity and bandwidth — it's about how much energy you actually have to do the thing you need to do.
If you are tired or if your energy levels are low, it'll take you a whole lot longer to complete a task than if you had higher energy levels. Energy management also affects things like your decision-making skills, your ability to meet deadlines, and even the efficacy of communicating with clients.
Difference between time management vs energy management
Time management and energy management are inherently related but they are DIFFERENT, because time management is about looking at the hours in the day whereas energy management is about looking at how we are actually making the best possible USE of those hours — so that we have sustained energy throughout and after a given task.
Energy management isn't just about "let's do as much as possible in a shorter amount of time," but rather, "let's do as much high quality work as possible very strategically and intentionally while taking into account what we need and conserving the amount of energy we use so we can make the best possible use of the time we save by working smarter and more efficiently."
Why you can’t have time management without energy management:
- If you use time management strategies that aren’t a good fit for your brain, or your lifestyle requirements, then they’re going to be a struggle to maintain.
- And what’s the point in saving time if you’re too exhausted to USE that saved time for anything except crashing on the couch? There’s no point in saving time just for the sake of it. WHY do you want your time back? What do you want to use it for? I love TV and movies as much as the next person, and there's NOTHING wrong with wanting free time so that you can watch Netflix to your heart's content… but we want to have the OPTION to do other things. And without improved energy levels, you no longer have the option.
Energy management *gives you back* your time!
Give this video the thumbs up if you want this, so that I know we’re on the same page!
I want to be VERY clear about what happens if you DON’T do this…
- Working for the sake of working, rather than being smart and intentional and strategic with your time.
- Your problems with exhaustion and burnout with be shoved under the rug, rather than properly dealt with.
- You won’t have the bandwidth or capacity to make good use of the time you save or to ENJOY that time to the fullest.
What can you do about this?
One of the first things you can do is to differentiate between whether something is a time-suck or an energy-suck.
- Go through your existing task list and assign approximate time allotments to each item — how long does it take you to do each task? You can rate them as high time requirement, mid, and low time requirement, based on how many hours you typically work in a day. For example, a 15-minute task could be low time requirement, a 90-minute task could be mid-time requirement, and a 3-hour task could be a high time requirement.
- Go back through the list again and this time rate each task as “high energy, mid energy, low energy” → e.g. “high energy” is if it takes a lot of energy from you (maybe you want to take a nap when you’re done, or your brain is fried so you can’t do much afterward); low energy is the type of task you can do on minimal sleep or at the end of the workday without it requiring tons of creativity or brain power.
- Go through your list and identify whether it’s TIME intensive, ENERGY intensive, BOTH, or NEITHER.
After you do this, you’ll be able to determine whether you ACTUALLY have a time issue… or if you have an energy issue. You might find that you could theoretically do all of your tasks in a given week based on the time requirements, but that your energy capacity isn’t where it needs to be.
Another example is to consider each item on your list itself: some tasks might take 15 minutes but they completely drain you of your energy. This also ends up draining your time if you need 15 minutes to prepare yourself mentally for that 15-minute task and then another 30 minutes afterward to recover!
Once you know which is your starting point, then we can determine specifically what you’ll focus on next!
If you have an ENERGY issue, here’s what you’ll want to focus on next:
- Identify your energy boosters and detractors.
- Restructure your schedule so you’re maximizing your most creative times and energetic times of day/days of the week/seasons of the year.
- Rework your solopreneur business model to accommodate your unique needs.
- Put together burnout management and prevention plans (so that burnout is a complete non-issue for you).
- Start taking breaks in a way that actually supports your productivity and your personal wellbeing.
…You don’t have to do this alone! I have all the tools, templates, and step by step guides to make the most of your energy management, how to take breaks in a way that fully supports your productivity, what you can do to effectively manage and PREVENT burnout, sample burnout management and prevention plans, and how to choose the best time management tactics for YOUR unique brain — it’s all in my signature e-course, Productivity Powerhouse.
…Or, you can get a sneak peek of the Productivity Powerhouse framework and the solutions to your solopreneur business frustrations when you watch my free on-demand training — it’s my gift to you!
Choose your preference:
Now that you understand the importance of time AND energy management when you’re an overworked solopreneur, and you know whether your issue is one of ENERGY vs TIME, AND you know what to focus on to improve energy management…
Your next step is to improve time management!
Stay tuned for our next video on this exact topic: We’ll address practical time management tips you can use to improve your time management abilities based on YOUR unique situation — and regardless of how overworked you are as a solopreneur.