How to Manage Your Energy Like a Power Company Executive

How to Manage Your Energy Like a Power Company Executive

You’ve probably heard about time management.  All those books and blog posts will give you a wealth of tricks to squeeze a few more workable minutes out of your day.

But none of those tricks are any good to you if you sit down exhausted and your head bounces off your desk. If you’re blurry-eyed and nodding off at 7pm, you can imagine how the work you do is going to look.

So forget time management. Let’s talk energy management instead.

I’m not talking about the solar cell, wall socket, gas pump type of energy—I’m talking personal energy. The type of energy your body needs to get you through the day.

And to use energy management, you need to think like a power company.

Being Busy Kills Your Power

We live in a busy world. And because of that, we’re constantly running low on energy.

Between info overwhelm, constant connectedness, and increasing obligations, our personal energy is continually being drained.

Not too long ago, that wasn’t a big issue. A good night’s sleep, and you woke refreshed and ready to shred the world.

Today is different. Most of us aren’t smart with our personal energy.

Sleep is important, sure, but sleep just restores energy. Managing personal energy, focusing on regenerating it and using it to its greatest potential helps you reach new heights in both quality and productivity.

Power Companies Manage to the Max

Imagine you’re a power company executive. Your top three concerns (if you want your company to succeed) producing, storing, and delivering. If you don’t manage those concerns properly, your customers demand energy…

…and you can’t provide.

I asked you to imagine you’re a power company executive, but here’s what I’m telling you: you already ARE a power company executive. You need to make sure you produce, store and can deliver energy on demand.

Here’s how you take care of your first concern, producing energy: You need to eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

Simple. Boring, but simple.

The second concern, storage, is pretty easy to manage too. The human body is darned efficient at storing energy. I don’t have to look further than my own waist to see evidence.

Where we often fail is at the third concern, delivering energy when we need it. And this can have a big impact on the quality of our work. Thankfully, our bodies are great at delivering energy.

We just suck at scheduling those deliveries.

Take a look at what I mean:

Let’s say your high- energy time when you’re most creative is about 7am. Yet you stay up until 2 am to watch that Justin Bieber movie one-more-time.

Your down time, that period where you’re feeling real low-energy, happens every day around 2pm. Yet you go ahead and schedule an important consulting call at 2:05 pm.

You plan a whole-day marathon work session because you have a big deadline coming up. Yet you know darned well that two hours of straight work is about your limit before you need an hour-long break.

So how can you be a better power company and improve your energy delivery? Try these three steps:

Schedule delivery around peak supply times

Our bodies don’t produce a steady stream of energy all day. (No, really. It’s true.) There are peak times and off-peak times.

You probably already know when your body peaks with energy. I have a delivery of energy at 6 am and another at 9 pm. But that’s me. Everyone in my family has different peak times.

Figure out when your peak times occur. That’s the best time to schedule in your next task and deliver energy to it.

Use good fuel

You are what you eat. Come on, you’ve heard that before. As a power company executive, you might want to think of it in these terms:

The quality of your energy depends on the quality of your fuel.

Loading up on caffeine and sugar when you need an energy boost does perhaps give you a quick jolt. But it’s lousy-quality energy and is usually short-lived, followed by a not-so-pleasant crash. (Watch out for your head hitting that desk.)

Eat good quality food for fuel. Especially because there’ll be a time when you need that fuel – and it usually comes when you least expect it.

Plan for unexpected demands

Power companies plan ahead for those unexpected moments when everyone wants energy at a bad time. They can’t afford to crash – and neither can you.

What happens if you know your peak time but that big assignment comes in just as your energy is waning?

No worries. Get a special delivery.

Try a quick cat nap or a power snooze, say 10 to 20 minutes before you plan to start working. A little exercise, like a five-minute walk, might help boost your juice. Try two yoga moves to a good tune.

All these activities spark your power and produce a special delivery of energy for you to use.

But of course, special deliveries cost extra. You generally only have enough energy to get you through the day, so a special delivery of it means you’ll pay the price.

That price is usually a little bit less energy later on.

The relationship between your personal energy and the quality of your work is unique, and it’s strong. Keep it well managed, think like a power company, and you could take your productivity to new levels.

Maybe even light it on fire.

If you want to read a rockin’ book on the value of time, from business opportunities you’re missing out on to how you think about your time influences your cold, hard cash - and how much of it you can make - then you need to read Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs.

James recently read this book, and she swears it’s seriously good. She’s even recommending it to every time-starved, overworked, undervalued person we know. (And even people who aren’t.) So get your copy today – and start seeing value for your time!

Post by Mike Davenport

Besides creating crazy stick figures at Stick Figure Simple, Mike Davenport helps presenters and writers with simple pictures that work fast to get the point across. You can find him at Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. LOVE your title. Also love the cartoon graphics and good ideas.

    My energy supply needs variety for fuel.

    I also need to believe there is hope and I can improve my circumstances–I am not a helpless victim.

    • Thanks Mary for the nice words, and having energy to reply. Sometimes it is tough to do even that.

      Your can improve your circumstances, especially with the help of some good folks, like James and the gang here at MWP.

      Best of luck with your projects ahead.


  2. This is such an important topic for making our work and our daily lives better–thanks for covering it. I tend to work best in the early and mid-morning hours, and then, weirdly, I get another burst late, like 10 or 11 p.m. I end up having to choose which burst to go with… But knowing they’re there helps me organize the day, so I can wait to do the dishes or vacuum or run errands when my energy is low and I don’t need my brain as much. (OK, sometimes I just flat out skip the dishes.)

    And a big thanks for mentioning fuel here. That’s so often overlooked. I got lucky on this one: my wife’s parents run a natural foods grocery store, so it’s ingrained in her to eat well, and it’s now second nature.

    I think this kind of thing can be hard for entrepreneurs, since we often work alone and there’s not a public face we have to put on, we can do what we want with our day. Great advice to consciously choose how we use our energy with that time. (Thanks for the recommendation of No B.S. Time Management!)

    • Fuel is critical. As one of my coaches used to say (at least I think he said it), *Junk fuel in, junk energy out*

      Race car drivers and jet pilots put the best stuff they can find in the fuel tank, because the effect of not doing that can be disaster. But we think it is different for our bodies? Not quite . . .

      That’s great you know *when* you have your energy peaks. Ah . . . and you use them to your advantage . . . smart move!

  3. Nice post! It’s definitely a topic that more people need to look into. Everybody has only so much energy in the day, and it’s important to use what you’ve got efficiently. Isn’t it weird how when 2:00 strikes, so does a wave of tired? Gosh, and I thought it was just me!

    • @ Jessica: 2pm and I crash. I know that and have to work around it.

      So what do you do to handle your 2pm lull?

    • Jessica: It is definitely right to care about this topic of how to save energy as a way to succeed in someone ‘s life long Though as you said: it is very important to use what you have efficiently, I want to respond to this just as a journalist not as power Executive.
      A journalist needs to meditate on how he/she going to pitch the story efficiently . If a journalist wants story to succeed, he/she needs three things in the head:

      One is to know from whom the story is going to come from , where and when.

      To succeed this , we need to have brain relax.

      Enjoy the reading

      Ntarugera François

  4. This is an excellent blog! I love it. Thank you for writing and posting. I’ll have to figure out when my peak energy hours are. I think it comes in the evening, which totally works against working in the morning and early afternoon when my kids are at school. :/

    • Nicky, two quick thoughts.

      Keep a log for a week, just 7 days, and just jot down your energy spikes. At the end of the week see if any trends pop up.

      Also, keep in mind that you might NOT have total control of your energy demands, especially with little ones and funky schedule changes.

  5. You’re absolutely right—energy management is just as important as time management! Thanks for this refreshing spin on some timeless truths. I think a lot of us feel that busy-ness and tiredness are just “normal” and there’s nothing we can do about it. But you’ve offered some practical steps that can make a difference in the quality of our work—and our lives. Thank you!

    • Thanks Melanie, and you are spot on about busy-ness and tiredness are NOT the norm.

      One of the greatest health challenges now for freelancers is lack of sleep.

      It is NOT a badge of honor to be exhausted, it is sign to hit the off button and go to sleep.

  6. That’s a great twist on a subject we have all probably thought about before. I like how you framed it, and there are definitely some things to think about in order to operate more efficently.

  7. La McCoy says:

    Worth thinking about.
    Thank you.

  8. Mike, I have yet to see something from your pen that isn’t just plain great. This is simple stuff, as you say, but important and frequently neglected!

    Ahem… To that end, I’m shutting down and getting some shut-eye!

    • Oh great . . . I’ve put another MWP reader to sleep.

      James, how many does that make??

      _(Thanks Melissa for the kind words!!)_

  9. An excellent blog post as usually. I totally agree with the point of “you’re what you eat.
    It’s so significant that each time I feed well, in the morning, I perform well at work.
    I’m also able to compete and achieve more success with my IM business.
    I learnt so much today, keep up the good work.

    • Absolutely Michael . . . stuff in equals stuff out. And the quality of the stuff in is connected to the AMOUNT of energy we have.

      It’s not rocket science (obviously) but when I’m busy, running around like a duck looking for water, I really have to resist the temptation to grab whatever is around to eat. And whenever I lapse and grab the dz donuts and diet soda I quickly pay a price . . .

  10. Cory Annis, MD (Unorthodoc) says:

    Fine post, Mike! Stamped 100% Grade “A” doctor-approved! 🙂

  11. Thanks Doc . . . appreciate the stamp!

  12. I want to respond to this idea of producing,storing and delivering just as a journalist not as power Executive.
    A journalist needs to meditate on how he/she going to pitch the story. If a journalist wants a story to succeed, he/she needs three things in the head:

    One is to know from whom the story is going to come from , second where I mean the location ,thirdly when the story is needed .

    To succeed this , we need to have brain relax.

    Enjoy the reading

    Ntarugera François

  13. This article makes so much sense to me. I have discovered that I’m hopeless if I try to sit and focus on something for more than a couple of hours. I thought that just meant I was lazy or procrastinating. It helps to be able to think of it in terms of needing a power boost!


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