You only have so much energy in a day.
I don’t just mean physical energy, I mean mental energy.
It doesn’t matter how much time you allocate to an important task, if you can’t effectively focus your mental energy or if your energy reserves are running low, your performance will suffer.
You might be busy, but you won’t be productive.
It’s important to remember that being productive means getting important things done. How you manage your time is certainly important here, but no one is maxing out their use of time. If you wanted to find time somewhere in your schedule, you could find it.
Finding mental and emotional energy is the real trick.
Here are some tips and tricks to making the most of your available energy to make sure you get important stuff done:
Find Your Priority
You’ll notice that I said “priority” (singular) instead of the more common phrase “priorities” (plural).
According to Greg McKeown in his outstanding book Essentialism, the word “priority” entered the English language in the 1400’s and for 500 years it was singular.
Only in the last hundred years did it come to be used in the plural.
When you think about it, the term “priorities” is an oxymoron. Your priority is your most important objective. If you don’t have an objective of singular importance, you don’t yet have a priority.
It’s worth taking the time to find your priority. As Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit says:
“The most successful people are those that are best at identifying their deepest, most important goals.”
Your priority will be the task that moves the needle the most towards your most important goal.
One strategy for finding your priority that I learned from Tim Ferriss is to look at your to-do list and ask yourself: Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?