Today, concepts of time, energy, prioritization, and excuses were on my mind. In the simplest terms, I believe that you tend to do what you prioritize and make excuses for everything else you don’t do. However, I also think that what you prioritize may not be in alignment with what you truly value. So I want to ask this question:

What do you value?

And follow it up with this one:

Where do you spend your energy?

The real question is are your values aligned with where you choose to use your energy?

Amazingly (and maybe not so surprisingly), as I was thinking of these concepts today, I was led to a Harvard Business Review article entitled Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time which explores these concepts from a professional prospective. Since we often spend the majority of our day working, I believe it is very relevant. I most appreciated the tips the article provided to better manage energy:

  • Establish a ritual for sleeping (e.g. in bed by 11pm, up by 7am as advised by my acupuncturist) and eating (e.g. eat breakfast followed by eating something healthy every three hours to maintain metabolism) to increase energy levels
  • Take renewal breaks (e.g. go for a 20 minute walk outside) when you feel your energy waning
  • Focus on one task at a time and eliminate distractions (e.g. check email only twice per day if possible instead of every time you hear a “ping.” This strategy has been very effective for me!)
  • Manage and focus your energyWhat is the one thing that you need to get done today?  Start with that.
  • Find your sweet spot: What do you love to do? Figure out ways to do more of that. Delegate things you don’t love to people who love doing those things.
  • Practice positivity: recognize and reward others as often as possible!
  • Eliminate the victim mentality (blaming others and external circumstances for your problems)…change your lens and cultivate more positive emotions!
    • Reverse lens:  Ask yourself: What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?
    • Long lens: Ask yourself: How will I most likely view this situation in six months?
    • Wide lens: Ask yourself: Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?

And most importantly,

  • What do you value? What do you want to be remembered for? What is most important to you? Is it being on every work call or being truly present and available for your family? 
    • Now be sure your actions reflect this value. Prioritize what’s most important and then act on it.

I also liked the following discussion in the article: “What are the qualities that you find most off-putting when you see them in others?  By describing what they can’t stand, people unintentionally divulge what they stand for. If you are very offended by stinginess, for example, generosity is probably one of your key values. If you are especially put off by rudeness in others, consideration is a high value for you.”

Life is a series of choices that reflect what we value. These decisions are also a signal to others about who/what we value.

As with all things, my hope is that you will choose wisely ;)


Photo source: The pursuit of happiness by Valdéz