How Successful Leader Manage Their Energy Not Their Time

Many of the leaders I work with are anxious to hear tips on time management. But after working with business leaders and executives for over three decades, I’ve come to realize that the most effective and successful leaders treat time management as a secondary concern. For them, it’s energy management that produces real results.

Most of my clients—and most leaders in general—have a lot to accomplish. When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you need to do, it’s all too easy to push yourself beyond your limits. As a result, you can become burned out long before you accomplish your goals.

When I coach my clients on using their time effectively, the first step is to work on managing their energy. It can be challenging in our overscheduled and hurried world, but here are some of the fundamental principles:

It’s about getting the rest you need. People try to get everything done in an all-nighter, but in fact the longer you stay up the less productive you become. It’s best to get a good night’s sleep and start fresh.

It’s about quality, not quantity. I don’t know any business leaders who don’t have too much to do. It’s not about how much you can get done but how you get it done. Quality always wins out over quantity. It may even give you the zest to do more—it is a powerful feeling when you get things done with excellence.

It’s about being present without being distracted. The best way to manage your energy and time is to be fully present with whatever, or whoever, needs your attention. When you have true focus, you can accomplish tasks twice as fast with more energy left over.

It’s about taking small breaks. Multiple studies have found that you have more energy for the day’s tasks, especially work-related tasks, if you take short breaks throughout the day. Those can be as simple as five to 10 minutes of stepping away from your work space and getting into a different mental zone — for instance, taking a short walk, completing an unrelated task, listening to a favorite song or reading something else. Research suggests that distracting yourself briefly once an hour gives you more energy to work during the day productively.

It’s about working out. You’ve likely heard it a thousand times already: exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and being happy gives you energy. When you feel like you don’t have the energy to exercise and you drag yourself to the gym, you’ll leave feeling more energized. Numerous studies point to regular exercise as having a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue.

Lead from within: If you are truly mindful of your energy and you manage it well, you’re likely to become far more productive—and, as a result, a more effective leader.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Jaimala Wankhede

    11. Jul, 2018

    Very true. Taking short breaks helps the mind refocus better.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Greg Davis

    11. Aug, 2018

    I love this concept – manage your energy, not your time! Every point you make rings true. These suggestions are simple but not easy. I especially like your last point about working out. Exercise is a great way to manage your energy and your time!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Logan Gregory

    23. Aug, 2019

    Well said! Leaders today need to understand their performance is not unlike the performance of a professional athlete. Leaders need to ensure they are prepared (have the energy) to handle all of the things they will need to be able handle for those they lead. In most cases this can take (or require) mire energy than time. Energy and time are not directly related. Depending on the situation, you can expect to spend a lot of energy in a short amount of time.

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  4. Vladislav Atanasov

    17. Aug, 2022

    Well said. Taking short breaks helps the mind refocus better

    Reply to this comment

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