If you’re like most leaders I know, you often feel like there’s way too much to do and there’s not enough time in the day, so you often focus on managing your time, but you’d also be wise to focus on managing your energy. In this episode, we’re gonna talk about the art of energy management. (soft electronic music) This is the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Hey, it’s great to have you back with us for another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, where we are incredibly passionate about investing in leaders, because we know that everyone wins when the leader gets better. If it’s your first time to watch or to listen, let me just tell you what we do. On the first Thursday of every single month, we release a brand-new leadership teaching. In fact, if it’s helpful to you, I would love to invite you to subscribe to the podcast. If you would like the notes that have the questions and other helpful content, you can go to life.church/leadershippodcast, give us your email, and we’ll send the show notes to you every single month. You can go over this with coworkers or friends. If the content’s helpful to you, it would mean a lot to me if you would rate it or review it, write a review wherever you consume the content, and a big, big thank you to those of you who are sharing on social media, inviting others to be a part of our community. It means so, so much to me. Let’s dive into new content today. Here’s something that I know about you as a leader. What I know is, you’re very very likely driven to succeed and to make a big difference in the lives of people around you, and because you’re driven, you’ll often say things like a lot of other driven leaders will say. You’ll say, “Wish I had more time in the day. “There’s not enough hours in the day. “I often feel overwhelmed. “There’s just too much to do.” You might say, “I have a hard time disconnecting after work. “It’s difficult to be in the moment.” You might say, “My work-life balance isn’t great.” You might say, “I haven’t seen my kids in so long, “I can’t remember their names.” I hope that’s not the case, but perhaps it is. So what do you do when you’re overwhelmed with too much to do? If you’re like a lot of people, you end to come into work earlier, or you stay later. You work harder. Perhaps when you go home, you work some more at home. Your mind is so wound up, you can’t sleep at night. You’d like to do things that you enjoy, but you feel like you don’t have time, and then if you do something you love, you feel guilty because you’re not producing, so you try to take some time off, but you can’t completely unplug. Then you’re really excited about your upcoming vacation or your break, but when it doesn’t deliver exactly what you expected, you feel more hopeless, more overwhelmed, more irritable, more desperate, you got more plates spinning but you believe you can’t stop. You feel trapped, like it will never, ever change. I’m guessing this perhaps describes some of you at some portion or another, even now, in your leadership. What you likely think is what I often thought, and that is this: that you have too many things to do, and too little time. But, what if the real issue is that you’re doing some of the right things, but you’re doing them at the wrong times or in the wrong ways? You often think that you need to work on your time management, which may be true, but more likely, you’d be wise to focus on your energy management, and that’s what I wanna talk about in this episode. The theme is the art of energy management. Now, why does this matter so much? It matters because time is a finite resource. In other words, no matter what you do, you only have 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week. Time is finite. But energy, on the other hand, is a renewable and replenishable resource. In other words, you can never, ever create more time, but you can create more energy. That’s why I wanna look at energy management, not just as a science, but also as an art. Energy management is a science. In other words, if you get adequate sleep, you exercise, you eat a healthy diet, your body will naturally create more energy. On the other hand, if you do the opposite, if you burn the candle at both ends, you eat nothing but junk food, you live a very undisciplined life, your body will diminish and be depleted with energy. Energy management is a science, but it’s also an art, and that’s what I wanna focus on. If you observe your own rhythms, you’re gonna notice that what energizes you is gonna be different than what energizes me. What sucks the life out of me is gonna be very different than what sucks the life out of you. Energy management is an art. So, knowing that, this is what we’re gonna try to do. I’m gonna say it twice. We’re gonna experiment to create the optimal environment and rhythms of your peak production and fulfillment. Let me say it again. We’re gonna experiment, we’re gonna try different things and we’re gonna study the results, we’re gonna experiment to create the optimal environment and rhythms for your peak production and fulfillment. Why? Because what is leadership? There are many different definitions of leadership, but here’s a good one. Leadership is the art of harnessing human energy to create change. Harnessing human energy to create change, to make a difference, and to get results, and the first person you have to lead is always you. So as we talk about the art of managing energy, let’s start with two big ideas. The first one is this. Number one: You’re better at some things, at some times, than others. There are things that come more naturally to you, you’re better at certain tasks at certain times of the day or week than you are doing those same things at different times. For example, some of you are more creative early in the day. Others of you, you get bursts of energy at night. Some of you like to work under the pressure of deadlines, that gets you motivated. Others of you, you wanna work way, way, way ahead, and finish long before there is any deadline in sight. Some of you, you get energy from being around other people. Others of you, you get energy from time alone. Some of you, you’re better early in the week, when you’re fresh. Others of you, you’re better later in the week, when you gain momentum by getting things done, and you like to finish strong. Number one, you’re better at some things at some times than at others. Number two, we need to acknowledge that different tasks take different amounts of energy. Different types of tasks that you do, conversations that you have and responsibilities that you perform, they take different amounts of energy. For example, creating content takes a different amount of energy than just sitting in a meeting, which takes a different amount of energy than making decisions, which takes a different amount of energy than coaching someone, or a different amount from giving a presentation. That’s why you can do something that you just hate, something that you dread, for four hours, only four hours, and at the end of the time, you are completely drained, frustrated, and exhausted. On the other hand, you can do something that you love for 10 hours, and at the end of the day, you may be physically tired, but you’re emotionally charged, you’re replenished, and you may feel like you need a good night’s rest, but you’re ready to go and attack the next day because you did something that was energizing to you, something that was fulfilling to you, something that hit in the sweet spot. Now, what does this mean for us? Because you’re better at some things at some times, and because different tasks take different amounts of energy what I would encourage you to do is do what I call an energy audit. An energy audit. Our goal is to very clearly, and very specifically determine two things. Number one, what is it that drains you? And number two, what is it that sustains you? Number one, what drains you? What empties you? What takes energy away from you? Number two, what sustains you? What fuels you? Invigorates you and refreshes you? Now, how do we do an energy audit? You can do it however you want to, but here’s my suggestion. I suggest that you use the numbers between negative two and positive two. Negative two, negative one, positive one, and positive two. Negative two is something that’s very, very draining. If you know you have to do this, you dread it, you feel exhausted when you’re done, you often feel discouraged, you’d rather not ever do that again. That’s a negative two. A negative one may be draining, but it’s tolerable. You don’t want to do it every day, but you can do it every now and then, it’s not that big of a deal. A plus one is something that’s energizing, something that you enjoy, something that gives you life. A plus two is off the charts. It’s amazing. You live to do these kind of things, you love it, you feel better at the end of doing these types of tasks. What I would recommend that you do is go through a week, maybe two weeks, maybe three weeks, and keep track of what you do every single day. Then give yourself a score for the tasks as you go, and look at your score, your average score at the end of the day, the end of the week, and such. What you wanna do is you wanna be able to clearly define, here are the things that give me energy, here are the things that deplete me of energy. When you understand that, it gives you the tools necessary to make the changes that will help you be stronger in your leadership. I would encourage you to audit everything that you do. For example, let’s just talk about meetings. We all have meetings. Do all meetings energize you? Like they’re all a plus two. Yay, I love meetings. Or do all meetings drain the life out of you? They’re all a minus two. Or, maybe there are certain types of meetings that energize you and certain types that don’t. For example, meetings that focus on the past, where you’re looking back, that might drain you, but meetings that are focused on the future, where you’re planning to do new things, that might actually energize you. Meetings with certain people might drain you. Meetings with other people might energize you. So we’re gonna audit even the different types of meetings that we’re in. You wanna audit the tasks you perform, the responsibilities you have, the conversations that you have with other people, the types of decision that you make. You might also audit your time away from work. In other words, when you’re not working, what is it that refreshes you? Is it reading? Is it resting? Is it time alone, or is it when you’re active, doing something challenging with lots of people? You wanna audit everything. Now, why are we doing this? What are we doing, specifically, is we’re experimenting. We’re experimenting to create the optimal environment and rhythms for your peak production and fulfillment. In other words, you may not be doing too much, but you may be doing too much of the type of work that drains you, rather than the type of work that sustains you. Now, as we move forward with application, I just wanna be clear and acknowledge that many of you don’t have full control of your schedule. In other words, if you say, “Meetings drain me. “I’m not going to meetings,” you may not have a job, and so, I just wanna acknowledge that this is true for many people. But here’s what you wanna do. As often as you can, you wanna try to do things that are more energizing to you than draining. Let me break it into three very applicable thoughts. The first one is this, number one. When possible, delegate, eliminate, or automate what drains you. In other words, if there’s something that you just don’t like, and you’re a leader and you could actually empower someone else who loves doing it, delegate that. Or, you want to eliminate it. There are somethings that we don’t like doing that don’t really move the needle. Just stop doing those things. Or automate it. In other words, create a system that gets that task done without a lot of energy from you. When possible, delegate, eliminate, or automate what drains you. Number two: When possible, do more of what sustains you and energizes you. This appears to be obvious, but what you wanna do as you grow in your leadership, you should also be growing and doing the things that are in your sweet spot, that really bring fulfillment, that maximize your gifts and your production. You wanna do more of what energizes you. And number three, here’s where I’m gonna spend the most time, will be here. Always create the rhythms for your peak production and fulfillment. You’re gonna try to create the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual rhythms to help you perform at your best and fulfill you the deepest. And this last point is where I kind of nerd out, so get ready to deal with nerd Craig. I study everything and I’m constantly tweaking to find the rhythms that bring the greatest production and fulfillment. In other words, I study when I produce best. I’m going to bed, getting up in the morning, the foods I eat, the supplements I take, how I hydrate I body, how I exercise, when I do certain tasks, when I don’t do certain tasks, and on and on and on, and I’ll explain, from my perspective, these would be the things that help energy and direct me. Yours would be very, very, very different, but I’ll tell you mine as an example. That’s why you wanna do your own audit, and you’re gonna study and you’re gonna experiment to find your peak rhythms. So, let me give you some examples. First of all, I’m never living just day to day or leading just day to day, and I’ll explain. On my wall, I have a visual calendar of the whole year. What I have is 12 different frames. In each frame, there’s a piece of paper that as a month, so I can look at a month at a glance, a quarter at a glance, six months at a glance, or the whole year at a glance, so what that does is it trains me not just to think day to day, not just week to week, not just month to month, but I’m looking at the flow of the whole year. As I’m looking at the year, I’m acknowledging ahead of time, here’s the seasons when I’m gonna go hard, and here’s where I’d better guard my time to regroup and to refresh, or I’m gonna be in trouble. So, during certain months, I have almost a blanket no. For example, in my world, at June and December are two of the best months for me to regroup and to spend time with my kids and my family, so I say no to almost everything in June or in December, with very few exceptions. I’m not doing outside work, I’m not doing speaking, I’m not doing extra writing. I’ll either be working with very focused time, or I’ll be off and away with my family. There’s almost a blanket no in those months, because it gives me that time to refresh. You’re gonna wanna do the same thing. Let’s talk about daily and weekly rhythms. My next day, and this is important, my next day starts before my next day starts. In other words, I’m already thinking about tomorrow before tomorrow is today. So again, this is nerdy, but on the evening before I go to bed, I prepare everything for the morning. I put out my bowl and my oatmeal and my clothes, and my backpack’s loaded, and my workout bag is packed. The reason I do this is because I know I am most creative in the morning. What I’m not gonna do is I’m not gonna allow a drop of energy to go towards anything else. I’m gonna be as prepared as I can, so I can start the day fresh and use my energy to create. Let’s talk about the rhythms of my week. Monday is the day after I typically preach on the weekend. I’m generally drained, so I start the day with a meeting at which I don’t contribute much at all. In the meeting, I’m listening, I’m setting the priorities for the week, I’m answering questions and people are keeping me informed. Then, I do a meeting with my assistant, and what we do is we review what’s coming up for the week. We’re planning, we’re prioritizing, but listen to what we’re not doing. We’re not making decisions. It’s rare that we ever make a decision, and the reason is because I’m very drained, I’m not at my best. Decisions are more draining. I’m feeling pressured about the upcoming message that I need to create, so I wait until later in the week, after I gain energy from creating a message, my brain has been freed up, and I make decisions later on in the week. Here’s something really important. When you’re planning your week, you might consider putting some different categories on your list. Instead of just having a to-do list, I actually have a list of things to do, and then I have another list of things to create, then I have another list of things to decide. To do, to create, to decide. You may have two of these categories, you may have four different ones, but when you bulk your tasks into different categories, you recognize when to do those certain things at the peak point of your energy, so you can have the highest production and fulfillment. For me, at the end of Monday morning, my week is planned. My assistant brings lunch into my office, and it’s a pre-ordered, pre-made, pre-delivered meal, which means I don’t have to spend any energy thinking about where to go, any time going to a restaurant, and it’s the food that my body responds best to. After I start pushing message ideas around on Monday afternoon, I leave and go to the gym, and the afternoon, the evening time is with family. At the end of the day I wind down, I stop looking at emails, I stop looking at screens. I’m preparing my mind for sleep. Tuesday’s content day. I start early, often four a.m or five a.m. Why? Because the time before eight a.m is far more productive for me than when people come in the office. I get more done in those early hours than I do in the later hours. I try to keep my calendar completely clear. If you want a great book about focusing deeply on your work, I like the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. That was really helpful to me. Later in the week, once my message preparation is finished, then I’m more available to things that my team needs from me and it’s then that I start making decisions. Later in the week, on Friday, I take a day off. Why? Because I rest better once the tasks are finished. I have other friends who wanna take Monday off or be off early in the week, because they need to rest up for what’s coming, and that’s why you need to determine clearly what rhythms work best for you. You’re gonna be different. You study, you experiment. What I know about you is this. Your energy audit will tell you something very different from my energy audit, and no matter what, our goal is never to work harder, but to manage our energy smarter, because you can’t create more time, but you can create more energy. Now, in the next episode, we’re gonna talk about your four energy forms. Very important. But before we do application questions today, let’s do a quick review. What do we know? Time is finite. You can’t create more time, but you can create more energy. Since energy management’s not just a science but it’s also an art, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna experiment to create the optimal environment and rhythms for your peak production and fulfillment. Why? Because leadership is the art of harnessing energy to create change and to make a difference and to get results and the first person you have to lead is you. Remember, number one: You’re better at some things, at some times, than others. Number two: different tasks take different amounts of energy. So what you’re gonna do is your energy audit. You’re gonna determine what drains you, what sustains you, and as often as you can, as often as you can, you wanna do more of what energizes you and less of what drains you. When possible, delegate, eliminate, or automate what drains you. When possible, do more of what energizes and sustains you, and always create the rhythms for your peak production and fulfillment. Three application questions. Number one: What energizes you and what drains you? If you’re with a group, talk about it openly. Number two: What are you doing now that drains you that you can delegate, eliminate, or automate? What are you doing now that sucks the life out of you, that you can give to someone else, stop doing completely, or create a system to handle for you? Number three: How will you reprioritize your leadership around what energizes and fulfills you? How can you reprioritize your time and your energy around the things that give you life and bring great fulfillment? I am really honored and excited that you’re part of our leadership community. Two weeks from now, we have a bonus episode, releasing on June the 20th. I was honored to interview Carly Fiorina, the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company, presidential candidate, an amazing leader, who released a brand new book called Find Your Way. This is a super insightful interview where we hear the story behind her success and hear how she thinks about leadership. Also, I will be honored to teach this year at the Global Leadership Summit. It’s on August the eighth and the ninth. There are sites all across the US and then globally, around the world, all year long. I’m excited to bring the opening talk, called Bend Your Curve, and the closing talk, Heart Over Head In Leadership, the Power of Emotions in Leadership. You can find out information online about the Global Leadership Summit. If this podcast is helpful to you, it would mean the world to me if you would rate it, review it, or share about it. Let’s invest in our leadership. Let’s apply what we learn, because everyone wins when the leader gets better. Go out there, lead strong. I know we all feel pressure. Take the pressure off. Just be yourself, because people would rather follow a leader who’s always real, than one who’s always right. Thank you for joining us at the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. If you wanna go even deeper into this episode and get the leadership guide or show notes, you can go to life.church/leadershippodcast. You can also sign up to have that information delivered straight to your inbox every month. In the meantime, you can subscribe to this podcast, rate and review it on iTunes and share with your friends on social media. Once again, thank you for joining us at the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.