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Productivity Has Nothing to Do With Time

Productivity not about hustling for more time; it's all about managing your energy.

If you are like me you probably have a complicated relationship with time. Most perfectionists and control freaks do.  For us, safety and security belongs in progress and achievement, so we love to be productive and efficient. In fact we often judge our worth on how productive we’ve been each day, feeling only as good as our last achievement or tick on our To Do list. Using our time wisely is one of our highest priorities.

I used to unconsciously evaluate myself every day as I drove to school to pick up my kids. What had I achieved of value that day? What had I ticked off? What progress had been made? It took me years to understand what was going on and that my mood was determined by how I judged my time management, my progress and my achievements for that day.  If I hadn’t ‘done enough’ I felt shitty. I wasn’t performing enough and I must try harder. I felt that I had to learn how to manage my time more effectively, and spent a lot of time and energy trying to do so.

What I eventually came to realise is that firstly, my worth is not based on what I do (duh!). It’s based on who I am. And because I am a human I am innately worthy of being here on this earth living whatever kind of life I choose (without harming others).  Being alive is the only measurement of worth, and we all have equal worth. I am the same creative person whether I get that promotion or not. I am the same wonderful-and-sometimes-grumpy-mum whether I get that new client or not, I’m the same mostly-loving-wife whether I remember it’s World Book Day or not, and I am the same semi-organised-but-doing-ok-woman whether I eat a whole packet of biscuits or not. I know it doesn’t feel like it but it’s true. 

The second thing I came to realise was that trying to manage my time was completely the wrong approach. Squeezing more and more things in, juggling different tasks, trying out planner after diary after calendar after home-made-diary-spreadsheet just didn’t work.  

What I realised was that I had to manage my energy instead. In short, it’s been life-changing.

It really is all about energy. With the right energy you can achieve miracles in a short amount of time. With the wrong energy you can spend a whole day not getting anything useful, fulfilling or enjoyable done.  With the wrong energy we are just surviving. With the right energy productivity and fruitfulness soars and momentum can build. With the right energy life feels great whatever we are doing and whatever we Get Done (or not).

There are lots of ways of managing and increasing the quality of our energy from looking after our physical needs (sleep, water, nourishing, unprocessed foods, movement etc) our emotional needs (connection with friends & family, love, spirituality, being in nature etc) and our mindset (our self-talk, mediation, beliefs, meaning etc).  We know about these, but don’t necessarily attend to them well enough. I spend a lot of time working on these energy boosters and drains with my clients.

But there are also other very natural ways that we can tap into our best energy, but have forgotten how to – because our culture has swept them under the carpet in recent times.  As an in-house coach for One of many™ I regularly get to see the amazing results from my clients of using these often-forgotten ways of harnessing powerful energy.   Here are some of the ways we can manage our energy and increase our productivity:

  • asking for help and seeking collaboration (which used to be a day to day activity in close knit communities of the past).
  • knowing your values, vision & purpose (which get a bad rap as self-indulgent in mainstream culture, but any successful entrepreneur will tell you how important they are).
  • understanding, dealing with and releasing limiting beliefs and emotions (we definitely didn’t get taught this at school!)
  • understanding your body’s natural rhythms and cycles (no one publicly acknowledges that women go through massive energy shifts throughout the month – except to criticise our moodiness).
  • using universally recognised archetypes (we call them Women’s Powertypes™ at One of many) to harness effective energy states(outside psychotherapy rooms this isn’t talked about either, and is not effectively taught anywhere else).

Is it time to focus on boosting your energy rather than hustling for more time? Perhaps learning to manage your energy state will create the increased productivity that you’ve been striving for? Is it time to experiment with this approach?

It has worked for me, and many of my clients. Where can you start managing your energy more effectively today?

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