“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Iron Mike Tyson
And I believe the same holds true in business..
All it takes is one phonecall to change your day, that could be from
- The bank
- An irate customer
- An employee
- A supplier
And so on….
While this may sound strange coming from a productivity expert who teaches Time Management, it actually makes perfect sense when you think about it.
As a small business owner, I’ve no doubt you work around the clock, as if you don’t do it, who will? We get caught up in the ‘I must get this done, and then that, oh wait, and that something else’. See as a business owner, there is always going to be something to do next, which is a guarantee! There is nothing wrong with that, however what is wrong with it, is that we put unnecessary stress on ourselves by making it something urgent that must be done yesterday.
It’s human nature to think that what we are working on is of the utmost importance! And there is good reason for that. However what happens when we keep putting undue pressure on ourselves? We crash and burn! Everyone has their limits and sometimes we just push them too far and our health suffers. So when it comes down to it, as a business model, it doesn’t make sense to work all day and night only to crash and burn.
And this is where managing your energy is of profound importance.
See you want to keep working at the Apex of your ability all the time, knowing the balance between energy, priorities which in turn will lead to effective Time Management
So how do you manage your energy?
Well for starters, it’s not a one size fits all, nothing ever is. What will work for me, will not work for you. We are all different, so the best strategy to take is to understand your energy and concentration levels at different stages of the day for different tasks. It is very important to discover your golden hours to do certain types of work.
For example, I was writing a book Monkey Business on what I do to help companies develop sustainable systems. It took me a year to complete and when I began writing I was getting confused as to why some days I was better at focussing on it than others. However when I really looked into it, it wasn’t just about the day, it was about the time of the day. As a business owner myself, my strategy in the beginning was to just work on it whenever I had a chance. That could be early morning one day, late evening the next. I discovered quite quickly that when I worked in the evening, my creativity levels were drained and found it hard to translate what was in my head onto paper. However when I wrote as soon as I woke up, my productivity levels for writing were extremely high. So as a strategy, I ensured going forward that I would write only first thing in the morning to ensure my time spent was as effective as possible.
And writing a book was also putting a strain on other parts of my business as now I needed to find time to do other activities (as in everything outside of working with clients). While time is constant, energy is a very different story and
What’s the point in having time when you don’t have the energy?
So as a small business owner, like me and like you, the number one thing for you to manage is without doubt IS YOUR ENERY MANAGEMENT!
I’m sure you all know the business phrase ‘you need to speculate to accumulate’ well I’m here to tell you it’s the same with your energy. Exercise is not an option, it’s a necessity and in order to be more effective / productive AND have more stamina, make sure exercise is part of your daily routine. And for those of you that say you don’t have time for exercise? Do you have time to be out sick? Well prevention is better than the cure. While there is no one size fits all, let’s look at some key principles that can be adopted into anyone’s routine
- Good sleep
This goes without saying. Forget those articles where you see some people say that they sleep only 4 hours to squeeze more time in. While that maybe the case, they are the exception rather than the norm. Very few people can live and work like that, so don’t try and be a superhero with it. Ensure you get your required hours sleep
- Prioritise work according to type – creative / physical / communicative / logic
This is where Energy Management makes time management so much more productive. Knowing when you are at your most creative when working on product development. Or when you are at your best for communicating should determine when you are at your best for dealing with clients and your team or when selling. And knowing when is the best time so you can focus on the mundane work of paperwork etc.
- Learn when you are at your best for each type
Spend sometime thinking about this. As I said, it’s not a one size fits all. What will work for me will not work for you. And then spend some time piloting and testing. This is not something you will know instantly, so the only way to know is to test and tweak.
- Prioritise your schedule around it
Once you’ve done all that, this should be the easy part as in block your time according to your energy types. And once you’ve done that, fill it up with your weekly tasks ( we will go into this in more detail in the Time Management post next week)
- Schedule in exercise and recovery time to your daily routine
Scheduling in exercise and recovery time is something most people find hard as they believe it’s wasted time. However when you consider what’s at stake and weigh it all up, it’s actually the 2 top priorities on your schedule as they will ensure all your other activities will be done in their most productive manner. The best way to describe this is instead of thinking of your business as a marathon, break it down in to short burst of activities or sprints. And when you sprint, guess what you need to do after? That’s right, recover! When you think of it as a marathon, the natural mindset is then to keep going which leads to the crash and burn you read about earlier.
And one more thing, this should be very true if you manage a team and you want continuous high performance from them. So when you have figure it out for yourself, TEACH YOUR TEAM to become WINNING TEAMS!
Business performance is ABSOLUTELY proportional to the performance and success of your team. Read here to learn more on that.
Over To YOU
So what are you going to do from today forward to start managing your energy?
How are you going to help your team improve their performance?
Want to learn the basic fundamentals to Systems Thinking and how to build strong processes in all aspects of your business?
Please enter your details below to receive your 3x Video Series on effective Process Mapping