Manage Your Energy Not Time

Time and energy are valuable commodities for professionals, often in short supply. But they are not the same thing, as Tony Schwarz and Catherine McCarthy write in the Harvard Business Review. Time is clearly a finite resource: 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. From a physics perspective however, energy is different. It is defined as the capacity to work, and is not as limited. No doubt you have had experiences where you had more energy than you thought possible. And vice versa.

Schwarz and McCarthy believe that energy is generated from four primary wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Exercise, sleep, time with friends, and meaningful activities all generate energy. We know this, and forget it often.

One tool from their research is designed to increase emotional energy. Rather than getting stuck when we have a negative experience, they invite people to look at that event through three alternate lenses:

The Long Lens: How will I most likely view this situation in six months?

The Reverse Lens: What would the other person in this conflict say and in what way might that be true?

The Wide Lens: Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?

Challenge and conflict are a part of every professional’s life. Schwarz and McCarthy are not advocating avoiding conflict. But looking at those situations through a different lens can help those situations be less of an energy drain.

Question for Conversation and Reflection: Which lens do you need to use for a current challenge or conflict?

Exerpted from: Harvard Business Review


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