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March Flight Path: Why every leader should manage their energy (and not time)

Newsletter, March 2024

I am not sure how we got to March already! February was a big month and a bit of a blur between workshops, coaching, recording podcasts (which is launching soon), to running the residential Thriving Women’s retreat in Madarao, Japan.

As an introvert, running a week-long residential program can be draining. This month, more than ever, I've focused on managing my energy and maintaining resilience. This was not only important during the retreat but also in navigating an unusually intense period in both my professional and personal life. For me, managing my energy involves understanding different types of energy and identifying what I need in a given moment to recharge. I'll delve into this further below.

How to cultivate more energy

When life gets busy and we have a never ending to do list, we often turn to time management hacks to boost our productivity. While time management strategies are often thought of as a solution to help us achieve our goals and meet deadlines, these traditional approaches have proven to be ineffective for many people, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Managing our energy (and sustaining it), rather than just our time, is the key to unlocking productivity and wellbeing.

Research from Harvard indicates that traditional time management strategies are limited because they focus on increasing productivity rather than improving the quality of the work being done. These strategies typically involve creating to-do lists, scheduling tasks, and dividing larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks. While these techniques can be helpful, they don't tackle the root causes of time management issues like procrastination, distractions, and burnout. Read more

Carving out time (and energy) for deep work

Fostering deep work within teams, much like cultivating energy, is crucial for sparking innovation and achieving lasting success. The term "Deep Work" was first used by Cal Newport to describe a state of focused attention that enables individuals to produce high-quality work, innovate, and deliver outstanding results.

Cultivating deep work demands practice. Leaders must instill in their teams the discipline to prioritise focused work sessions over fragmented attention. By setting up rituals and routines that encourage deep work, leaders pave the way for increased productivity and innovative thinking.

In our hyperconnected world, it's all too easy for teams to fall prey to the constant pinging of notifications and interruptions. Leaders can counteract this by implementing strategies such as setting specific periods for checking emails and messages and establishing dedicated spaces for uninterrupted focus

What I am listening to 🎧

Cal Newport's latest book, “Slow Productivity, offers a paradigm shift in our approach to work and achievement in a world marked by relentless hustle and unending busyness. Although the book is on my "to read" list, Cal discussed on The Tim Ferriss Show that, unlike the conventional emphasis on speed and efficiency, a more deliberate and intentional approach to productivity prioritises depth, quality, and sustainability.

What I am reading 📖

I'm currently engrossed in Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt, a selection of the Sustainable Shift book club. This book serves as a definitive guide to effective strategic thinking. Rumelt, a well-known strategist, delineates the components of a solid strategy and exposes common strategic planning pitfalls. He emphasis the significance of pinpointing and concentrating on critical issues, crafting a coherent strategy to tackle them, and executing it with discipline.

Through thoughtful analysis and real-life examples, Rumelt illustrates how effective strategy can foster competitive edge and achievement, whilst bad strategy can lead to failure and squandered resources. His book offers invaluable perspectives for leaders, managers, and anyone wishing to grasp the core of strategic thinking.

Quote I'm pondering 💬

“It is hard to show your skill as a sailor when there is no wind.”

I hope this was helpful and sparked some insights. I would love to hear your thoughts! 

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