Squeezed for Time? Manage Energy Instead

Photo by Leo Reynolds

Who is most squeezed for time these days? I can make a pretty good argument that today’s mothers and fathers are more squeezed than just about anyone else. In fact my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today has a whole chapter on time titled Pits and Privates: Or Why Am I Obsessed with Saving Time? You’ll have to pick up the book to get the scoop on the “pits and privates reference, but here are a few bullets on families and time.

  • Families with two parents employed today are working 500 more hours per year than families with two parents employed put in in the late 1970’s.
  • Employed mothers today spend just as much time with their kids as non-employed mothers did in the late 70’s, and non-employed mothers today spend even more.
  • Fathers have doubled their childcare time and tripled their housework time since the late 70’s.

In this scenario, managing minutes becomes futile. That’s why I was so glad to see this post today on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog,  Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity from Tony Schwartz, author and leader of The Energy Project. I know it’s designed for a business audience, yet I get so much more value from Tony’s advice for managing family life than from any of my women’s magazines. My magazines try to help me manage TIME – tips for exercising in ten minutes, dinners in twenty, cleaning the bathroom while I use it. Tony’s advice contains research backed strategies for managing ENERGY. I quote his book The Power of Full Engagement in my chapter on time  and this post is such a great summary of the key strategies.

I find I can apply these strategies to both my home life and my employed life. I chunk my paid work into 90 minute blocks (sprinter) and am so much more productive than if I try to go for longer. I chunk my time with my daughter too – trying to fully engage with her and then let us both recharge and refuel in other ways.

How about you? Do you have strategies for managing energy at home and on the job? Does your workplace support these strategies for managing energy?

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3 Comments

Filed under Career-Life Fit, Family Work, Fatherhood, News & Commentary, Remodeling Motherhood, Time

3 responses to “Squeezed for Time? Manage Energy Instead

  1. Kristin,

    Your analysis is spot on as usual. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts.

    You’ve described my experience too, in that squeezing tasks into bits of time just leaves me stressed and unfulfilled. It’s much more effective to pay attention to my energy and how I’m feeling. I actually feel better and get more done in bursts. I have more time for fun and meaningful things too.

    Yup, that goes against current conventional thinking of multi tasking. I’m all for moms doing more of what they love and less of running from task to task.

    • Thanks Kaurina. I’m afraid recently I haven’t been practicing what I preach – not enough exercise to keep my energy up. I feel like I don’t have enough time even though I know I’m always better off exercising and get more done. Trying to put that on the calendar over the next few weeks!

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