Be Your Best

Time vs. Energy in the Pursuit of Success

by on Jul.25, 2016, under Blog Posts

energyI think pretty much everyone agrees that your Time is your most precious asset, and how you use that time is a critical factor to achieving overall success and happiness, as you define it.  But one factor that I have learned, and feel is somewhat over-looked as another critical factor of success, and arguably in the top 3 factors generating massive success —- is energy.  I am talking about your body’s energy.

Have you ever allocated a chunk of time to complete a project whether it be a home improvement project or a business project — and found that the factor that keeps it from getting done is not the “time”, but your body’s energy?

 

2 Types of Energy

Energy breaks down into 2 key components: Mental and Physical.  Each of these, in my opinion, is about equal in terms of their impact on your overall body energy that is required to complete important tasks and projects.  And the tasks do not have to be ‘physical’ in nature to still require 50% physical energy and 50% mental energy in order to complete them in the allotted time.

Exceptional success requires a lot of implementation and action.  Some of this is more physical and less mental, and some of it is more mental than physical.  But all implementation is both physical and mental.  Nothing happens by just thinking about it!!!

The Bigger Factor: Energy or Time?

Over the years, I have found that energy seems to be a bigger factor than time itself in implementation, but I read and hear a tiny fraction about “energy”.  How many books have you heard about or read on “Energy Management” vs. Time Management??

The reality, based on my own personal experience over many years in addition to reading about many other successful people, as well as talking with many successful people in business, sport, politics, etc… is that the “when” to implement in your body’s daily optimum energy zones is as or more important than the time allocation to implement.  The simple reason is that your ability and speed to implement can be 5X-10X+ more effective when you are at peak energy (mental and physical) than when you are not.  Science and plenty of studies have proven this fact.  And it is not difficult to do your own test to prove this to yourself if you are not sure about it.  It is simply amazing how much more productive you are in this peak energy zone than you are during any other time of day.

We all pretty much know what part of the day when we feel the best.  For some, like me, it is early morning until about 11 am when I feel at my peak energy level, both mental and physical.  After 11 am, I think my graph of energy would be declining slowly until about 5 pm, and then with only some exceptions when I may get a ‘2nd wind’, really drops off.  For others, mid-day may be their peak energy zone.  And I know a lot of people who really reach their energy max zone from about 4 pm – midnight.

How to Harness and Manage Energy

If energy really is as important as time to success, then it stands to reason that we should spend as much time “managing” our energy as we do managing our time.

How?

I think the first step to effectively managing your energy is recognizing and documenting when your peak energy zones are during the day.  Becoming acutely aware that you might have only 3 hours during the day that truly are your maximum mental and physical energy period allows you to create leverage and maximize results in and around that 3 hours.  That max energy zone should be guarded with great care, as a most precious asset, such that you are not wasting those precious few hours with stuff that could be done when your energy is not at peak level.  You want to build a fortress wall around your peak energy zone of time so you, and you only, are in complete control of it — at all costs.  It seems pretty obvious to do this, but even when you are attuned to this concept, your natural habits and other things will easily distract you from implementing this basic, but critical, strategy.  Let me know cite an example.  Many (most) of us check email first thing in the morning.  But what if your peak energy zone is first thing in the morning?  I have never heard of anyone achieving tremendous success tell me that checking their email was in the top 10 reasons why they were successful.  So, it would be wise to replace this activity with something that is much more important and requires greater mental and physical energy.  Then, do things like email when your energy is not in your peak zone.  Don’t mistake tasks and projects that are mostly ‘thinking’ oriented to not require “energy”.  Complex and highly mental activities require just as much body energy as “physical” tasks.  It took me a very long time to learn this fact.

The second key strategy of managing your energy asset is to put fuel into that peak energy zone and make it greater, either by creating more energy in that zone, or lengthening the zone of peak energy.  This will seem pretty obvious again, but most people don’t do these things, or do them consistently.  Exercise has been scientifically proven to increase energy, and this would be both mental and physical energy.  My experience supports this.  When you do your exercise can potentially impact your peak zone of energy.  And, not ironically, exercise requires energy to help create the energy — so it is wise to put your consistent exercise segment inside of or ahead of your peak energy zone.  This is a big mistake that many people make with their exercise — they try to do it when they are very low on energy.  Not fun, and not sustainable.  The other thing about exercise is that it is a big fuel source for creative thinking — so the exercise zone of time itself can be extremely productive with respect to achieving success in its own right.

Third for me in terms of managing my energy asset to its potential is getting good consistent sleep.  Body energy is like a circular equation, where creating good energy allows for lots of mental and physical action, and lots of mental/physical action makes it easier to sleep.  Good consistent sleep creates good energy, and the circle/cycle continues.  Not allowing time for good sleep seems to create a negative circular equation.

Mental and Physical Energy are Co-Dependent and Integrated

I used to think of mental and physical energy as 2 separate things, one independent of the other.  So, I might say to myself, I will do that more ‘physical’ task when I have a lot of energy, and then do the more mental thing when I am more ‘physically’ tired.  But I have found, as I am sure you have found, mental energy goes hand-in-hand with physical energy.  Your brain and your body are integrally connected and working together, feeding off each other, and max energy requires both to be fresh.  Being fresh mentally but somewhat drained physically, tends to reduce your total mental capability.  And,vice-versa, I don’t think you are nearly as sharp when your brain is rested, but your body is somewhat fatigued – the only exception to this is ‘during’ the early-mid stage of exercise.

No question that you can still perform at high levels when you have only one of the two types of energy fresh, but ‘maximum’ or peak energy zones have both mental and physical energy at their highest.  If you are looking to unlock more productivity, achieve more in less time, and be happier doing it — try focusing on managing, harnessing, and leveraging your second (or maybe even first) biggest asset: your Energy!

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford – President


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