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Book synthesis

Replacing time management with energy management

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed,” wrote Peter Drucker in his 1967 book The Effective Executive. The Western conception of time as a commodity to be economized for maximum ROI is becoming less and less applicable in today’s global business context. An alternative to time management is gaining momentum: energy management!

Based on

Based on 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman (Business Plus, September 2011); The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress by Elizabeth Grace Saunders (McGraw-Hill, December 2012); “Relax! You’ll be more productive” by Tony Schwartz (the New York Times, February 2013).

You can’t increase the number of hours in a day: rather than trying to do it all, the new strategy in demanding office environments is to choose your battles.

Manage your energy, not your time: The most applicable approach today is less about quantity (number of hours worked) and more about quality (having energy to do what matters).

Learn the art of subtraction: Spend less time on activities that give little value in return in order to have more time and energy for what really matters.

Time management has historically focused on how to get as much done in as little time as possible. But the rapidity and complexity of today’s work environments along with the arrival of always-on communications makes this a potentially self-defeating goal. “Given the pace of work and the level of input in modern society,” writes Elizabeth Grace Saunders, “time management is dead. You can no longer fit everything in — no matter how efficient you become.” Instead of figuring out how to do it all, the new objective for managers and executives may be figuring out how not to do it all. As Peter Bergman writes, “The world will take what it can from us. It’s never been more important to be strategic about what to choose to give it.”

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Clémence Thiry
Published by Clémence Thiry
Clémence is Digital Manager. She is in charge of our digital strategy and of running our blog and newsletter. She also supports our customer projects with content for managers’ digital communities.