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Moving On.... Managing Energy
How Talented Women Thrive Part # 2 - Managing Energy

The second dimension of the Centered Leadership Model by the McKinsey Group is managing energy or knowing where your energy comes from, where it goes and what you can do to manage it. See the previous issue for #1 - Meaning.

"Flow" is a sense of being so engaged by activities that you don't notice the passage of time. This is also a good indicator that you're involved in something that has meaning and passion for you.

Why do you think it's so crucial for leaders to manage their energy? Sixty percent of today's executives work more than 50 hours per week, and 10 percent more than 80 hours a week. What's more, many women come home to a "second shift" - to manage all household tasks, such as meal preparation and child care.

I've pretty much decided that work-life balance is a myth. If you're in the life part and you're thinking about work, you might as well be working. If you're in the work part and you're thinking about life, family, finances, home - you certainly aren't engaged and productive in your work. If you take work home and sit your child in front of the TV, while you're at the computer, is this really family time, just being in the same room? Yes, I know we think we're great multi-taskers, but this won't be the first thing we're confused about nor the last.

The best we can hope for is to manage our energy flows. Base your priorities on the activities that energize you. Manage your resources to avoid burnout. For example, if food preparation is not your energizer, stay at work an hour longer (more dollars) so you can purchase food or hire someone to cook it for you. If details are not your work forte, then you be in charge of the big picture and have a team member be in charge of the details. Delegate and delegate what you don't like and embrace what you do like!

For example one woman attorney in India put in 16 hour days even when her kids were young and she was energized by this, how can this be? She loved winning. She loved being in court, it excited her, it energized her! The time she did sped with her kids was happy time because she was happy with herself. Are you in a career you love? What parts do you love and what parts do you not love?

Identify the conditions and situations that replenish your energy and those that sap it. This awareness will allow you to deliberately incorporate restorative elements into your day.Trying spacing out the tasks you find drain you, rather than bundling them all into a single afternoon. Give yourself uninterrupted time during the day to focus - totally without distractions. No phone, no one coming into your space, no outside noises, just total concentration on the matter at hand. You won't believe how productive you will be and how good you'll feel about yourself.The average interruption causes you to loose 10-20 minutes of your day. Now stop and multiply that by how many times a day you're interrupted and you'll see we're talking DAYS not hours per week. What could you do with that extra time? Or put another way, how much money is flying out the door with all these interruptions?

Good questions to ask yourself: Is there a more simple way to handle this? Am I the only one who can do this? If not, who is the best person? Why am I feeling so tired, what have I been doing that drained me? Is there a better way? If a coach can assist you in defining these answers and exploring your options, give me a call.

Helpful reading:

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Csikszentmihalyi

Work/Life Balance: Wisdom or Whining by Greenblatt

The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr & Schwartz Adapted from the McKinsey Quarterly Online Journal..9.08


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