Several thousand years ago, a Greek named Aesop told a fable about a race between the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise won because of an ability to stay focused and keep her eyes on the prize. For me, that’s just another way of saying she could focus her energy on results rather than on staying busy. In short, she knew how to manage time and proved once and for all that there is a connection between time management, the seven levels of energy, and the three energy styles we use to turn that energy into action.
Think of time the way we do, and let’s call it Temporal Capital. Unlike other resources, time (Temporal Capital) is non-renewable. Each of us has 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour day. The higher our energy level falls on a scale of 1 to 7, the more business, family involvement, interpersonal involvement, relaxation, recreation, and opportunity we are going to cram into that non-recurring day.
In simplest form, the seven levels of energy seem to be something we’re born with; and they range from “burnt out” to “extreme multi-tasking”. From lowest to highest, these levels have names: Critically Directed; Motive Evaluation; Effective; Productive; Achiever; High Achiever; and Ultra Force. One level is not necessarily better or worse than another; they just are what they are.
How we use (manage) that energy on a day to day basis is where the three energy styles come into play. Some of us like to measure daily success by how many things we get started (Thrust); some by doing what’s expected (Allegiance); and some by doing what focusing on what they believe in (Stenacity).
On a practical level, this connection between time and energy means a great deal. Style and level differences between and among family members, colleagues, work associates, and others can lead to mismatched expectations, disappointment, and conflict over how and when something is going to be accomplished. That “something” can be as mundane as cleaning a room to something as involved as a sophisticated product/service launch.
For those of us who do not naturally manage time well and tend to need to stay busy to stay happy, there is hope. Time management skills can be learned and acquired.
The first step is to think about and ask the “HABUT” question: Is this activity the Highest And Best Use of Time? In order to answer that question, we have to know what’s important, and that requires focus on outcome – keeping eyes on the prize or prizes that get us out of bed whenever we choose to start the day.
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