Think Energy Management Not Time Management

time management

Think Energy Management Not Time Management

Having spoken to and spoken regularly with business leaders and founders, time management is one of the biggest frustrations that they highlight. Multiple large-scale in house surveys have shown that time management skills are one of the most desired skills but are one of the rarest to find.

Everyone is busy, and there is enormous pressure to “manage your time better,” “be more productive,” and “focus on what matters.”

When working in professional sports, time management was critical, but the main emphasis was on time itself. Our job as physical performance coaches was to manage the athlete’s energy, and we were making sure that they could perform at the right time and place.

I feel we need to be thinking about in business, and we should be focusing on energy management, not time management.

Here is my case in point. The definition of time management is the decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts a person’s time to changing environmental conditions.

So indeed, the amount of energy that you have affects this. Therefore managing that energy is vital for success.

How can we understand and use energy management?

First off, let’s start with the principle of holistic coaching. Holistic coaching has been the backbone of professional sports coaching, and now it is developing into the world of executive coaching, and rightly so.
There are three areas that we should focus on when developing energy management. Each area will affect the other.

Assessment: How much energy do you have? Executives are not superheroes; we all have a certain amount of energy. How are you increasing your energy? How much sleep are you getting? How fit are you? What do you eat? And how does your mood change during the day?

Periodise: Periodisation in professional sport has been a part of high-performance sports since the early 1960s. This thinking has to be introduced to high-performance businesses. We need to design, plan, understand clear priorities and understand the effect of energy use.

Transformation: Monitoring your use of time while completing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or varying priorities.

How to develop these skills?

Developing Assessment Skills

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Making things more effective should be the goal of any skill development. Speed has had the most considerable emphasis in business, with growth being the most significant mark for success. At the Cognitive Athlete, our executive coaching is about making effective habits that build performance. So, developing assessment is vital for success.

Find your peak performance time. In professional sports, each day would be broken down into training sessions; each is different in intensity. Taking this thinking, break your day into 2-3 90 mins slots that you develop engagement practice.

  1. Understand Your M.I.T. Take time, step back, and plan your Most Important Tasks. We know that this is a very important part to creating a flow state, if you want to know more about that then check out the link here.
  2. Do Your M.I.T and Assess. Get those tasks done, record how you did, were able to focus.
  3. What could you do differently? What can you improve? Be honest, get feedback.

Check out my video on high-performance planning here.


Periodisation means developing a plan or structure of times of high-intensity work and low-intensity work. Developing periodisation is not about taking control of the work it’s about influencing your life factors to perform better.

  1. Prioritise activities and responsibilities. It’s not enough to list out your tasks; you need to sit down and create priorities around your task.
  2. Early Task Identification. Being able to identify what’s important and what is urgent is vital. Tasks that are both critical and essential should be completed first.
  3. Using tech wisely. We have to utilise tech wisely; there are so many apps out there. You need to be able to seek the best one for you.
  4. Protected M.I.T time. Block out time to do those M.I.Ts, and make sure that no one has access to you. Having uninterrupted time to dedicate to your most important projects allows 100% engagement.
  5. High-intensity vs Low-intensity. Now that you have understood peak performance time, you need to plan low-intensity times for adaptation.

Developing Transformation skills

At this point we actually do things to make a difference. Information is great, but transformation is the key to success and what changes us. These skills are opportunities to test this transformation; what happens when we are under pressure? What happens when we are under stress?

  1. Habit development: Develop your habits. Some things are easier said than done. Executive coaching is about habit development, habits lead to consistency, and consistency leads to success.
  2. NIKE IT: Just do it. When you struggle to start, just do it. Remember that breaking down tasks is so important to success. High performing athletes break everything down — sessions, sets and then reps.
  3. Be hard on yourself, but… If you are not feeling it after a set time, or your energy is not there, change the plan. Periodisation is not set in stone. Self-organisation is the name of the game.


Effective time management has been the goal for years, and executive leaders will still think this is the case. Time is the greatest resource that we have, but actually, it comes down to energy management. We will permanently lose time, but we can develop habits to manage, save and increase energy.

Passionate about progress