One of the challenges I’ve faced, running a business, is managing my energy and time. Sometimes I’ll find myself leading back-to-back coaching sessions, six days a week, with a very tight timetable and very little time to decompress. Often I’m standing in front of audiences or I have one-on-one meetings that involve speaking to many people the whole day.
People say to me “Paul, how do you manage your time and your energy with such a full schedule? You are married, have three kids and pastor a church too! All these relationships and activities need time and attention?”
Honestly? There isn’t a silver bullet for time and energy management, but over the years I’ve learnt a few things that I find useful in these areas. I’ve listed a few of these tips below. Try and implement one or two of these, in your routine this week and you will find that you have more time to spare and increased energy for your day to day activities.
1. Be intentional about your with your clients. Some time ago, a potential client wanted to meet me for an hour and thirty minutes to decide whether or not they were interested in making use of my services. For me, 90 minutes is a long time for a meeting especially with a very full schedule on most days. I had to assert that one and a half hours was too long and proactively turned what would have been a 90 minute get together into a 30 minute meeting. In the end both parties had to make better use of the allocated time and effectively got more out of the short meeting.
2. Leave an event early if you don’t need to stay longer. I’m comfortable with leaving gatherings earlier if I need to, whether this is with friends, family or at church functions. I’ve found that at gatherings someone will often find an excuse to leave and say “sorry I have to fetch my kids” or “I have a meeting I need to go to” as though being tired is not an acceptable reason to make an exit. Often, soon after, everyone else departs suggesting that a whole host of people wanted to leave earlier but felt they couldn’t. Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to leave an event simply because you need to manage your energy or your time. After all, four hours making small talk may not benefit you nor the people you are with.
3. Make use of ‘dead time’ to maximise your day. I’ll find myself sitting in the parking lot of my boys’ school with about 10 to 15 minutes of wait time. You can bet I’ll make use of that time to either come up with material for my blog or to record some leadership thoughts that I’ll use later. Every single minute is precious and can be used effectively and intentionally, even for rest.
4. Lastly, work more on tasks that give you energy whenever you have the opportunity. My clients give me room to work on material that I find interesting. As a speaker and leadership coach, I find that my energy for topics and areas I find interesting spills over to the client. At the end of the day, if I’m enjoying what I do, so will the people around me and, as a result, time literally flies. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win really!