Manage your energy, not your time

This is the title of a great Harvard Business Review article. I used this article as some pre-reading for the participants on a recent leadership development program. We talked as a group about the kind of things each of us do to top up our energy. I really like the article because it recognises that we only have so much time each day, but we can recharge our energy to be more effective in a number of different ways.

I like talking about this topic with leaders because I find that our working lives are getting busier and more manic. The environments we operate in are less stable and less predictable and increasingly we need better strategies to deal with stress, pressure and ambiguity. For leaders working in a global environment these issues are even more pronounced, particularly when they are being asked to produce more, with less resources.

I also recognise that leaders need to perform at their peak and often do very little to ensure that they actually can. Top athletes use every resource available to them to ensure they have the best competitive edge. They have coaches and dieticians and psychologists and physiotherapists and exercise physiologists and specialist doctors. What do leaders have to ensure they can run the race and produce the results? In some, or most cases, nothing.

That's why I love this article. It addresses different types of energy including the body (or physical energy), emotional energy, the mind and spirit. The article talks about how you can build energy in each area. 

I write this post from the airline lounge in Singapore, on the way to Queenstown, New Zealand to restore my energy. I am attending Trey Ratcliff's Photography and Yoga workshop. I met Trey in the lift at a blogging conference three years ago. He turned out to be the keynote speaker and blew the attendees, including me, away with his energy, courage and creativity. 

I follow him at stuck in customs and when he posted about this workshop I just had to go. A couple of ways I manage my energy when working long hours and travelling a lot is to do something physical and to do something creative. This workshop at Aro Ha seemed to combine the two perfectly. 

I'll be learning some new things like processing photos, which I haven't really done before. I have purchased Lightroom for this task and am looking forward to learning how to enhance raw images from the camera. Actually it would be really good to just work out how to get photos into the software. I'm coming from a low base aren't I?

I'm looking forward to doing something physical everyday from trekking around the beautiful scenery near Queenstown to doing yoga. This will be a nice change from my usual day sitting on my butt or even standing at my new adjustable desk. Swapping this view with clean air and mountains should be good for the soul.

Most weeks I manage to attend one or two yoga classes so getting to do one every day without the rush of work and time, will be a luxury. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the vegetarian "paleo friendly, gluten free, dairy free, and enzymatically active" food makes me feel, and there will also be massages. I like massages. Still tossing up whether I should take some wine along or whether a week without alcohol would be a good thing. Ok, I know the answer to this. 

The opportunity to use my brain and body in a different way for a whole week is such a luxury. I like my job and what I get to do each day but I know if I don't take out time to breathe and be creative I'm not good at my job. This coming week I will get to restore my physical and emotional energy along with recharging the mind and the spirit.

Of course you don't have to fly hours to attend a retreat to restore your energy. What are some of the things you do?