Changing the Meaning of Being Productive
As entrepreneurs, finding enough time during the day is a reoccurring struggle for most. However, an article published by the Harvard Business Review suggests that maybe time isn’t the problem, but instead how we manage our own energy. When deadlines come up at work, or new clients get on board, it makes sense to put in longer hours. But, longer hours isn’t exactly equivalent to productive hours. HBR’s study suggests that the way we treat our own energy resources might be at the root of the productivity problem.
Basic self-care usually falls by the way side when our careers (and lives) get busy. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep sound trite, but they are the foundations of working productively throughout the week. HBR highlights the story of an Ernst & Young executive who, when abiding by standard guidelines of sleep, nutrition, and physical activity, saw immediate results in his productivity as well as the connection with his wife and children. Re-evaluating the way we treat our energy resources seems like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with the basics and make small changes. Not getting enough sleep? Not exercising enough? Eating the wrong foods? Identify the problem and slowly implement the changes for big results.
As we encounter different situations throughout the day, our bodies are forced to do a lot of work. According to HBR, our bodies are constantly drifting in and out of fight or flight mode. Whether you’ve been asked a question you don’t know the answer to, or having to confront an employee or co-worker, work stress takes its toll on the body. Those types of situations can leave us feeling empty and drained. A quick and effective way to conserve this type of energy is to carve out pockets of time during your day for reflection. Walk on your lunch break, practice deep breathing exercises, or take a few minutes to journal.
It’s pretty amazing how much we get done on the amount of energy we have each day. It’s important for us to prioritize tasks and practice working without distractions. HBR reports that we can use as much as 25% of our energy resources in switching from one task to another, like answering a phone call or email in the middle of a different task or project. Practice setting aside 20 minutes to work without any distractions. This will help you increase your productivity while protecting your energy.
It always feels like there’s never enough time in one day! But, these helpful tips can keep your energy resources full and your productivity at a high level. You can read the entire Harvard Business Review article here.