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Managing your time is something everybody talks about. If you want to achieve next-level results, you have to manage your energy, not your time.
You’ve read a lot about time management but you still fail to get things done, or let me rephrase it: You still fail to get the MEANINGFUL things done?
To take this a step further, plan your energy as well. You might know this feeling already, where you have an awesome plan for the day, and at 1 pm you are ready to tackle this big task. But when this time comes around, you are tired and you are doing some emails instead. Busywork is a killer for productivity, and guess what emails are?
Next up will be a manual in how you can start tracking your energy levels over the day and then plan your tasks accordingly (High energy = high profile tasks)
First of all, you need at least a week to track your energy levels. Since there is not a single app out there which helps you do so easily, I made myself a google spreadsheet after finding the idea on collegeinfogeek.com.
- Copy the google spreadsheet from my drive account by clicking HERE. Then click “File” “Create a copy”.
- Now go to File->Spreadsheet Settings->Change your time zone!
- Next up create a google forms file: HERE
- The question can be something like “What’s your energy level?”
- Answers have to start with a number I am using 1-5 so I have a middle ground at “3”.
- Click on “Answers” and on the small google sheets symbol. Now choose the file you just copied.
- In google sheets, change the name of the newly created tab “Form Responses” in your copied spreadsheet and name it “Responses”. Otherwise, it would not work out.
- Put this google form on your smartphone, PC, tablet and every hour you fill it out.
Getting the data
Now is the easiest part – for a week or two, fill out the google form every hour – the google spreadsheet will create an average of your energy levels and represent it in a graph.
I set myself a recurring task in todoist to get reminded of doing it.
This is a process, you have to do it every hour, if you forget it you can fill it in afterward, but don’t try to say “3 days ago I had an energy level of 5 at 10 am!”. This won’t work.
Manage your energy, not your time
The following graph shows my energy levels over the course of the last 7 days.
Manage your time, not your energy
You can see that my day starts with low energy after waking up, so between waking up and my “high energy” time I do busywork – I answer emails, gather my data from the production at work and give myself an overview where we stand. When I did all this it’s around 7:30 and I give myself a quick shot of coffee and a banana. Right after this, my energy levels start to rise rapidly.
My prime time is at around 10-11 am. My energy levels plummet right after this peak.
What I am doing now is, that I put all my big tasks in this period. Between 9-11 I am focusing on the most important tasks – I try to avoid meetings, I don’t answer emails and my phone. It’s just pure focus.
When this time is over, I do everything else again, from meetings to calls to emails, it could be anything.
The next step
So, I am still in the middle of this experiment and will continue to track my energy levels throughout august and come back with the results at the start of September. But what I will do regularly now is just tracking for a week. 2 times a year, I will track it now to see the change in my mechanics.
Planning your day according to your energy levels can give you a huge improvement in everyday life – and you understand your body much better. I will have a benefit from it for as long as I live – isn’t that fantastic?
I hope you could learn something from this post and it made your life a little bit simpler – let me know! You can find more productivity-related posts on the right-hand side.
As always, I would be happy to hear some feedback on this post.