Designing Week Around Energy, Instead of Time

WayOne of my long term aspirations would be to improve my storytelling and writing skills. Obvious way to improve in that area would be to write. I gave a chance for unstructured way of writing and working without specific outcomes in mind, that didn’t work.

I acknowledge that with just hoping, the stuff won’t happen. However I’ve just the right tools to make it happen and even more! This time I’ve both the firsthand experience and some new ideas to tryout. Now I am intending to design my life in a way that will allow me to accomplish everything I expect on a week level.

In the core of this designing my week idea, is the thought about designing it around of energy, not time. Energy on the other hand is the capacity to get the work done. Results shall speak for themselves.

Now I shall be writing twice a week. Writing is exciting format for me to start with, however I might want to be doing something else in addition to this. Also I would like to shift the writing to a different & fun direction soon enough… That’s something I shall work on a bit by bit from now on! Maybe In year I’ve crawled somewhere.

So how does this designing life stuff work out? There is a tool called effect map, which can be used to connect the goals, to metrics and finally to the actions. So I use this to map out everything. In the first version I am mostly focused on every day and every week actions thought, I map these all. Then I take it one step further and add time guestimates.

Now that I’ve day and week based action mapped out, with time guestimates, I see that I am using 171 hours of 168 hours available! No wonder it feels like there is never enough time to do everything I am expecting myself of.

Just a side note for reader: since these are based on approximations, I am not taking the dead seriously. However they do serve as great guideline and bring also visible, where I am putting time.

As I said however, the trouble isn’t the time. The results matter and to get the results we need the spark called energy, or ‘ability to get the work done’ by scientific definition. From literature comes to my help one great book called ’The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

The book does divide energy levels into four categories: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And furthermore each subcategory then has the ‘recovery’ or ‘stress’ state.  According to the book stress is good (especially boundary pushing stress), since it increases the total energy capacity. Stress only starts to cause trouble, when it’s not balanced with the proper recovery.

So according to this books model I did a bit of Excel work, where I listed all the activities, and what kind of energy effects they’ve on my life. Turns out it is mostly balanced. On physical side I’ve more stress than recovery, however then again on spiritual side I’ve more recovery than stress.

All in all this is still very much work in progress. However the book has finally convinced me about the importance of the exercise in order to increase capacity to work. Wow, this has been really something I’ve had HARD times convincing myself…

If you happen to know any good books on ‘managing energy’, I would love to learn about that. Either by email (janne at Zennen dot net)or twitter (@janne_piiroinen) or other ways.

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