We have two important sources for productivity during our day: time and energy. Combine those two and lots of great stuff can happen.

You can’t influence time. You can influence your energy. And it starts with the basics: nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. You probably know which of these area’s could use some improvement.

Next up is how you spend your energy. Here are a couple of big energy hogs:

  • Multitasking. Switching tasks cost a lot of energy. It is far more efficient to fully focus on a task, finish it, and go on to the next one. If there is one change you’re trying today, try to eliminate distractions and interruptions.
  • Working until you’re tired. It takes a lot of energy to get going again after you’ve pushed through a really big task. Instead, schedule blocks of work where you focus, with breaks in between. In these breaks, take a short walk, get something to drink, stretch or listen to some music. It might feel counter productive, but in total you’ll have more focussed time.
  • Procrastination. Thinking about something but not actually doing it costs valuable energy. Tackle difficult things head on, use the two minute rule, and get into the habit of having a supporting structure for large and difficult tasks.
  • Having no structure. The more time you spend on thinking that you’re so behind and that there is so much that you need to get done, the more energy is wasted. By identifying the most important challenge for the next day and making it the first priority when you arrive the next morning, you’ll save valuable energy and feel much more in control.

The better you know your energy levels and how you’ll react to it, the beter you’ll be able to manage your work. Start by focussing on the basics (nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest) and move on to eliminate the big energy wasters to get as much from your energy as you possibly can.