In reality, being obsessed with productivity can become unproductive and potentially harmful. If you adopt an all-work, no-play mindset, you might jeopardize your physical, mental, and emotional health, not to mention your performance. And once you’ve fallen into overworking, it can be hard to pump the brakes. Soon enough, you may experience burnout: Insomnia, fatigue, increased distraction, or even more serious health problems could be some of the telltale signs.
If you’re a budding freelancer, that can mean you’re working solo, which can become exhausting. If that’s you, it can be tempting to stay in “work mode” for hours on end without shutting off. Or maybe you run an accomplished agency, and have a tendency to respond to rising demands by working longer hours or taking on more responsibilities. When these things happen, people often look to improve their time management as a way to accomplish more. The problem with this strategy? Time is a finite resource over which we have no control.
That’s why, to avoid excessive stress and burnout, you can learn how to manage your energy, not your time. A shift from time management to energy management means doing more things on your terms: when and where you work, under what conditions, and with whom. It works from the premise that it’s not the hours in the day, but how you spend them, that really counts.
Before we dive into tips that can help you manage your energy, don’t forget to download our Energy Tracker to record your daily activity throughout your work week. This sheet can help you identify how you do your best work and when you may need to adjust your schedule to better align with your energy levels.
Here are 5 ways you can learn how to manage your energy, not your time—and maximize your productivity.