This blog post is Part 2 of 2-Part Series (Read Part 1 first)
Energy management is just as important as time management - and perhaps even more so.
If you have ruthlessly prioritized, and time-blocked for, an important planning session, but come to the meeting depleted of energy and off your game - you are certainly not setting yourself, team or company up for success.
Learn To Win Your Mornings
Most people follow circadian rhythms, which means our bodies respond to daylight and the dark of nighttime. Essentially, after a long night’s sleep, it’s the morning when most people are at peak energy, creativity and productivity.
This is why, at FounderForward, we are big proponents of the saying: Be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.
This means that you need to tackle your big 3 rocks in the morning, that way — by lunchtime, you have completed many your most strategic tasks. It also means planning activities that require maximum creative juices and brain power in the morning and filling your afternoon (when most folks have less energy) with more rote tasks like meetings, regular calls, and other management tasks.
And yes, this also means becoming at least a bit of a morning person — so you can get a jump on your day and get on offense before your day attacks you and sends you straight to defense.
Know Your Flow
When you are in flow - or in the zone - you are operating in a state of heightened energy and concentration that enables your best work to emerge.
It is important to understand what activities illicit your flow state. It is equally important to know what conditions are either conducive or distracting to your flow state.
“Knowing your flow” tees you up to be proactive (on offense) about getting and staying in your zone of optimal productivity and performance.
Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
In addition to its many health benefits, meditation helps us become more mindful, meaning it strengthens our ability to observe what we are thinking and saying.
These practices help establish presence - which calms and focuses your mind and energy while quelling the worry and anxiety that can dominate a founder’s thoughts.
In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes, “Perhaps the most important thing I learned as an entrepreneur was to focus on what I needed to get right and stop worrying about all things that I did wrong or might do wrong.”
Developing a morning meditation routine can help you do just that. So...what are you waiting for?
Take Recharging Breaks
A great deal of research exists to show that we have more energy, are in better moods, are more productive and are less prone to mistakes if we plan breaks in our days - particularly our afternoons.
Keep in mind that these are true breaks - not the few minutes you spend chit-chatting with a developer whilst refreshing your coffee in the kitchen.
For greatest impact, and to hold yourself to them, schedule breaks on your calendar. Get up from your desk and walk around. Get outside if you can. And if you have been cranking away solo - perhaps in your flow state - invite someone to break with you. Just don’t talk about work - that defeats the purpose.
Practice Self Care
If you, the founder, are not healthy and happy, your company will not be healthy and happy.
At FounderForward, we encourage all of our clients to make self-care a competitive advantage. This means knowing how much sleep you need, how much family time you need, how much vacation time you need, etc.
It is your job to walk into your company energized, confident, and on the offense - ready to inspire your folks to create the best product or service and the most successful company possible.
As a founder, you must always keep in mind that your people are watching you closely. And that your energy is contagious. Showing up depleted to the office, or a particular meeting, can be a surefire way to zap the energy and enthusiasm out of your team.
On the flip side, this also means that if you are committed to managing your energy (and your time and attention), your people should follow suit.
It’s a win-win that leaves you no excuse for not implementing our suggestions today. It will take practice to make them a habit, but, as the saying goes: success is a habit.