"Time management is a misnomer, the challenge is to manage ourselves." - Stephen Covey
Are you a high performer at work?
Most people feel starved for time. They're constantly hustling and grinding to get ahead. They want to be the best at what they do and strive for improvement. But managing your time efficiently, and cramming as much into your day as possible, doesn't promise results.
Time is precious. But we can't slow down the clock, speed it up, or jump around our timeline (not physically, that is). In other words, time is largely outside of your control. It's more important to bring your best self to every moment in time.
This is why the most essential currency for high performers is energy.
In this article, we'll discuss why energy management empowers you to perform at an elite level, and the 4 signs you're a high performer at work.
The Power of Full Engagement
In Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz's book "The Power of Full Engagement," they make a powerful statement:
"The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have."
They argue that energy, not time, is the currency of high performers. And if you want success in any dimension of your life, you'll want to skillfully manage your energy.
Imagine that you're going to a full-day seminar for developing your skills. You get there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take lots of notes and apply what you learn. But by lunchtime, your energy starts to dip. You start getting sleepy and your mind wanders. By the end of the day, you're barely hanging on, and all you can think about is getting home to relax.
It's not the time you spend that matters–it's the level of engagement and energy you bring to the table.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz call this the power of full engagement. In their words:
"Learning to manage energy more efficiently and intelligently has a unique transformative power, both individually and organizationally."
Being fully engaged is how we make the best use of our time, empowering us to achieve success in all areas of our life.
4 Signs You’re Fully Engaged and Performing at an Elite Level
High performers know how to manage their energy effectively.
They're able to be fully engaged in their work and, as a result, produce exceptional results. There are 4 signs that you're fully engaged, which Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz call the "four key energy management principles."
Let's cover each.
1. High Performers Draw on Various Energy Sources
We have complex energy systems, and we draw on various sources.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz expand on this:
"To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest."
When all four of these systems are firing on all cylinders, we're able to bring our best selves to the table and perform at an elite level.
2. High Performers Balance Energy Expenditure With Rejuvenation
Elite athletes aren't the only ones who need recovery.
Busy professionals often view rejuvenation and renewal as a sign of weakness. They see it as a burden, taking them away from valuable work time. But successful individuals view it as an integral part of peak performance.
"Full engagement begins with feeling eager to get to work in the morning, equally happy to return home in the evening and capable of setting clear boundaries between the two." - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
High performers don't try to burn the candle at both ends. They have a healthy relationship with work. They're able to separate themselves from their job and enjoy life outside of the office.
3. High Performers Push Their Limits
Stress gets a bad reputation in modern society.
However, it's not always a bad thing. It's essential for peak performance. We grow by exerting energy in a meaningful direction, then renewing ourselves after a job well done.
High performers function more as sprinters and less as marathon runners. If you compare the physical capacity of a sprinter to an endurance runner, the sprinter's musculature system is much more powerful. They push themselves to the limit. Then, they draw on the second principle and recover.
Developing our physical capacity is the most obvious example of this principle — when we work out, we tear our muscles. They then grow back stronger.
But this also applies to the various energy sources:
"We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity." - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
We need to challenge ourselves and push our limits if we want to grow.
4. High Performers Have a Collection of Positive Energy Rituals
Rituals are an essential part of high performance.
Will and discipline are finite resources and they only get you so far. High performers understand that, by developing routines, they can make intelligent behaviors automatic. This frees up their willpower. Now, they can focus their energy on what matters most and perform at an elite level.
"Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement." - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Rituals make it easier to stay physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with our purpose.
Next Steps: Manage Your Energy More Efficiently
Are you a high performer at work? If so, then you may recognize some of these signs in yourself.
Remember, high performers draw on various energy sources and balance energy expenditure with rejuvenation. They also have a healthy relationship with work, separating themselves from their job and enjoying life outside of the office. In addition, high performers push their limits and have a collection of positive energy rituals.
Want to learn how high performers mentally focus and get meaningful work done? Check out our article: 15 Key Takeaways From the Deep Work Method—Boost Your Performance and Productivity.