Do A Personal Energy Audit So That, Even When You Just Can’t, You Still Can


Jill Metcalfe

Personal productivity is not about doing more with your time. It’s about doing the things you’re already doing, but better.

Photo by Andrey Metelev on Unsplash

You don’t need better time management, you need better energy management.

In fact, you need to do your own personal energy audit, so that you’ll know how to match your activity to your energy levels.

Make a list of high-energy and low-energy tasks

You can define “tasks” however you want. My working definition is “things I want to get done”. They could be work, admin, or hobbies. Things I need to do for other people, or things I want to do for myself.

👍 High-energy tasks require significant focus, creativity, analytical clarity or decision-making ability.

👎 Low-energy tasks require none of these. They might be simple and repetitive. They’re often physical.

Here’s mine:

High-energy tasks

  • Planning (meals, holidays, projects)
  • Starting new things
  • Creating (writing, art, sewing)
  • Analysis
  • Making appointments
  • Editing
  • Reading non-fiction

Low-energy tasks

  • Grocery shopping
  • Cleaning
  • Exercise
  • Reading fiction
  • Brainstorming
  • Data entry
  • Journalling

Don’t just copy my list, make your own

You might notice “making appointments” is a high-energy task for me. I know I need maximum mental clarity and motivation to book my kids in to see the dentist, but for you that might seem trivial.

Similarly, I can drag myself out for a walk at any time, which is why exercise counts as a low-energy activity for me.

You might see things differently.

Actually write it down

One of the hardest things to do when your mental energy is running low is MAKE DECISIONS.

You want to remove friction, uncertainty and indecision. Having a list of low-energy tasks written down means you can bypass that cloudy “Ugh, I can’t do this any more” stage and transition straight into another activity that you can do.

Get used to checking in on yourself

Gauge your energy levels regularly.

If you find you’ve read page 24 of the sales report 3 times and you still have no idea what it says, that’s a sign your cognitive energy is low and you should switch to a less demanding task if you can.

Personal productivity isn’t about doing more with your time.

It’s about doing the things you’re already doing, more effectively.

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