Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
AUDITING YOUR ENERGY

Our time on this earth is limited, but what we do with our time and how we show up for moments in time is up to us. We can make our greatest impact not just by showing up but by showing up prepared and ready to engage. But that can only happen if we have enough energy for those moments.

The energy clock will help us be more intentional about who, what, and where we choose to invest our energy. We don't get to dictate the time we have on earth, but we can take charge of our energy.

We share our energy with our teams, our families, our employees, and our friends. The trick comes when we realize we need to give it exclusively to the things and the people that deserve it—that deserve you. In order to live intentionally, we need to be protective of our energy and constantly ensure who and what we give our energy to align with what matters most. When we do that, we make our greatest contributions to our colleagues, teams, family, and communities, and we find meaning for ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how most of us are obsessed with managing our time, with little thought to where we invest our energy?

We measure our years by months, our months by weeks, our weeks by days, our days by hours, and the hours by minutes. We fill our schedules to the max, and we measure our productivity by our level of activity.

This quickly becomes unsustainable. If unchecked, it's downright destructive.

If we don't bring energy to our time, does the time spent really matter anyway?

And if we misdirect our energy toward the wrong priorities, isn't it inevitable that we risk chasing the wrong things?

Here's the hard truth: If we don't decide what is most important to us, the world will decide for us.

Most of us live by the clock. We look at our watches, our phones, and our clocks all day, every day. Where do we need to be and when? How much time is this going to take? How can I move faster, get faster, live faster?

Google Maps tells us how long it will take for us to get to where we're going and how we can save two precious minutes by selecting the fastest route available. Most of us wake up to alarms and live our lives by notifications. We can't remember if Siri and Alexa are just apps or a legitimate part of our families.

Clocks remind us where we need to be next, not where we are right now. They're a constant reminder that our time—which we've put on a pedestal—is slipping away or (worse yet) being wasted.

Our clocks beep, chirp, sing, and quack. They make us feel more panicked and rushed than present. It seems like we are always making the choice between "Not enough time" and "Why am I wasting my time?"

But we trudge on, because time is ticking and we have a schedule to keep. It is so bad that we even build in our breaks! "Oh perfect, I have enough time for five minutes for mindfulness and a bathroom break between these two meetings! Just what I need!"

Instead of shoving our needs between tasks, we need to think about what we actually need in order to feel fulfillment and accomplish work that is meaningful. The energy clock is not about managing our time—it is about reimagining our time. It's a challenge to reframe the passage of time as an investment of energy...an investment of energy into what matters most at work and at home. It challenges us to assess who and what deserves our energy and why.

Imagine checking your energy clock to ensure you are connected and present—rather than merely on time. Wouldn't that make all the difference? Imagine protecting your time by filling it with what matters most.

When we envision our energy clock, we ensure we are aligning what is meaningful to us with our energy outputs, and in doing so, we likely avoid waking up one day and realizing we are way off course. It's like a flight from New York to Los Angeles. We make slight adjustments on the way due to wind and weather to arrive at our destination. Slight pivots keep us on course.

Life can be like that too. The path isn't always linear. Priorities change. Pivots need to be made. Learning to take ownership of our energy is the most important shift we can make on our journey to help us pivot onto our best path.

No matter who you are, protecting your energy allows you to make your greatest contribution to yourself and others. When you live your life fast by the ticking clock, you fall into the trap of reacting to crises and living by the expectations of others. Recalibrating your energy clock teaches you to live deliberately, with intention.

* Can we lead if we are exhausted?

* Can we get the results we want if we are distracted and unfocused?

* Can we do meaningful work if our tanks are empty?

* Can we inspire others if we aren't inspired ourselves?

I hate to break it to you, but no! Nothing will ever truly move forward if you are not investing meaning into how you spend your time. The purpose of the energy clock is to shift how you currently view your time to focus instead on where you invest your energy. This will in turn create more energy for you throughout your day. In other words, it's about going to the end of our lives and careers and ensuring we can look back and know we put energy into what mattered most, because you know what the greatest tragedy in life is? Getting to the end of it all and realizing that we spent our energy on the wrong people and the wrong things.
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