There are only so many time management techniques we can exercise before we come to realize that they may all be failing us. Even Maura Thomas, an international productivity speaker writing for the Harvard Business Review, admits: "There are too many sticky notes, the paper lists are way too long, and there's always more to add to them, and flagged emails quickly fall below the scroll and get buried."
With all of these never-ending to-do lists, we wonder: are we wasting our time trying to manage our time?
Perhaps a better question to ask is this: does time management even matter that much?
Catherine McCarthy and Tony Schwartz, in writing of their experiences as leaders of a boutique consulting firm, the Energy Project, assert that energy management, not time management, is what employers and employees should be focusing on.
After working closely with business leaders and executives for years, the CEO and VP had discovered, "with remarkable consistency," that executives found themselves to be "pushing themselves harder than ever to keep up," and increasingly felt as if they were at a breaking point. Even further, organizations they examined were forced to settle for employees who were less than fully engaged, and even had to constantly hire and train new people to replace those employees who chose to resign.
The core problem with paying attention to how you spend your time, and working longer hours, McCarthy and Schwartz explain, is that time is a finite resource. There are only so many hours in the day. Conversely, energy, which can be defined as the "capacity to work," can be expanded and regularly renewed. Depending on how you look at it, this is both bad and good news!
Energy management requires an increased amount of effort, as you will need to "recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they're facing." However, if you effectively monitor and maintain your energy, you will find yourself getting more out of the time you spend.
In fact, there's a good chance you will become a productivity rock star.