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Why Energy Management, not Time Management, Is Killing Your Goals

We all have different amounts of autonomy over our time. We may be told what hours we have to work and what needs to be accomplished in that time. That’s out of our control. But what we can control is how we come into that time. You control your energy. But how? Especially now with the shifts in work space, work hours, and types of tasks during the Covid-19 pandemic, you need to know your optimal energy zone. You need to know how to manage the time within each energy zone and be prepared.

Welcome to Gradschooled – a podcast about how to organize your genius for greater professional opportunities and a thriving life. Today we’re discussing how we work in each energy zone and how everyone’s individual circumstances affect our efficiency. So, get your planners and calendars ready because we are diving into our week rejuvenated and ready to accomplish our goals!

In this episode:

[1:26] – We’re discussing energy zones today! What are energy zones? They are when you are the most focused and have the most creative energy in flow.

[2:15] – Fatimah breaks down the three energy zones as time blocks: 6:00am-11:00am is Zone 1, 11:00am-4:00pm is Zone 2, and Zone 3 is from 4:00pm to whatever your own cut off time is.

[3:09] – In order to be focused, rest is so important. During rest, your brain is refreshing and you are rejuvenating. You have to rest from all the things you have been active in.

[3:38] – Take a moment and rank your most productive energy zones from most productive to least productive.

[4:35] – If you know that you will have a mid-afternoon slump, that is when you should plan to work on tasks that don’t require a lot of energy to complete. Or that could also be when you take a break, grab a cup of coffee, talk a walk, etc.

[5:17] – A kid-free zone could also be the time where your most productive times are. A guest shares his experience with working from home, managing a side-hustle, and taking care of his son. He plans ahead and cuts projects into smaller chunks in order to be efficient.

[7:25] – Another guest shares the fact that these energy zones change when life changes. What worked in one season of her life is not working anymore and she needs to make a shift.

[8:06] – There will be times when your job or projects are scheduled during your most productive zone. This can be discouraging because you’d like to have this time for you. How do you build up and keep your energy for when it is your time?

[9:00] – What you can control is how you come to that time. You are in control of how rested, rejuvenated, settled, enthusiastic, and paced you are.

[9:49] – Fatimah takes a look at her weekly schedule. Starting with weekly meetings, she blocks out the “must-dos.” These are the non-negotiables.

[11:38] – Schedule the tasks you have control over around the “must-dos.” Consider the life cycle of that task. What timing and what day makes sense for your energy zones and the type of energy needed to complete the task?

[13:08] – When you take a step back and look at the week, you will see all these pockets of opportunity for creative work.

[14:00] – Now it is time to look at your priorities. What are you working on this week that will help you move toward your 90 day goals?

[14:30] – A guest shares her experience as a procrastinator and how that has affected her energy zones.

[15:17] – How can we move with our energy and not try to become something we are not? Make your goals specific and clear.

[16:21] – Fatimah also recommends asking someone else to watch you work. This could seem uncomfortable, but it adds a level of accountability that you wouldn’t have on your own.

[18:27] – A guest shares how she is only productive when she leaves her home. The pandemic has impacted her efficiency greatly. Her responsibilities in her home take away her focus from work.

[21:20] – There is so much to do at home that will become distracting. Having distinct areas in your house for specific tasks and projects is beneficial to channeling your focus.

[22:58] – Another guest shares an idea of taking breaks from work for “therapy.” Her “therapy breaks” include folding laundry and housework tasks.

[23:30] – You not only have to have set boundaries on your time, but you need to have physical space boundaries, especially if you share a space with someone else.

[24:29] – Even if you have a small space, don’t limit the importance of dedicated work areas.

[25:30] – Fatimah has a goal to run three times a week and needs a visual reminder of how she is doing with hitting that goal. She uses a small calendar and marks on the calendar on the days she runs. This is something that doesn’t need to be specifically outlined in her weekly schedule, but the visual reminder is helpful to fitting that time in.

[26:44] – Consider the season of your life you are in. Something that worked in the past may not be what you need right now. Allow yourself some breathing room.

[27:36] – Now that you know your “must-dos” and what your priorities are, plan the night before what tasks you will complete the following day, taking into consideration your energy zones and the life cycle of the tasks.

[28:57] – A guest shares her experience with a friend who is her “accountability buddy.” They tell each other three tasks that they need to get done in a day and make a plan to support each other.

[31:09] – It is okay to back up and then come back to a project when you are ready. That is part of the journey.

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