Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

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by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy,From the Magazine (October 2007)





As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by putting in ever longer hours, which inevitably leads to burnout that costs both the organization and the employee. Meanwhile, people take for granted what fuels their capacity to work—their energy. Increasing that capacity is the best way to get more done faster and better.


Time is a finite resource, but energy is different. It has four wellsprings—the body, emotions, mind, and spirit—and in each, it can be systematically expanded and renewed. In this article, Schwartz, founder of the Energy Project, describes how to establish rituals that will build energy in the four key dimensions. For instance, harnessing the body’s ultradian rhythms by taking intermittent breaks restores physical energy. Rejecting the role of a victim and instead viewing events through three hopeful lenses defuses energy-draining negative emotions. Avoiding the constant distractions that technology has introduced increases mental energy. And participating in activities that give you a sense of meaning and purpose boosts the energy of the spirit.


The new workday rituals succeed only if leaders support their adoption, but when that happens, the results can be powerful. A group of Wachovia Bank employees who went through an energy management program outperformed a control group on important financial metrics like loans generated, and they reported substantially improved customer relationships, productivity, and personal satisfaction. These findings corroborated anecdotal evidence gathered about the effectiveness of this approach at other companies, including Ernst & Young, Sony, and Deutsche Bank. When organizations invest in all dimensions of their employees’ lives, individuals respond by bringing all their energy wholeheartedly to work—and both companies and their people grow in value.

新的工作方式只有在领导者支持采用的情况下才能成功,但当这种情况发生时,效果可能会很显著。完成能源管理计划的一组 Wachovia 银行员工在产生的贷款等重要财务指标上的表现优于对照组,他们报告说,客户关系、生产力和个人满意度得到了显着改善。这些发现证实了收集到的关于这种方法在其他公司(包括安永、索尼和德意志银行)有效性的轶事证据。当组织对员工生活的各个方面进行投资时,个人就会全心全意投入工作,公司和员工的价值都会随之增长。

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.

Steve Wanner is a highly respected 37-year-old partner at Ernst & Young, married with four young children. When we met him a year ago, he was working 12- to 14-hour days, felt perpetually exhausted, and found it difficult to fully engage with his family in the evenings, which left him feeling guilty and dissatisfied. He slept poorly, made no time to exercise, and seldom ate healthy meals, instead grabbing a bite to eat on the run or while working at his desk.

Wanner’s experience is not uncommon. Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs among employees. We at the Energy Project have worked with thousands of leaders and managers in the course of doing consulting and coaching at large organizations during the past five years. With remarkable consistency, these executives tell us they’re pushing themselves harder than ever to keep up and increasingly feel they are at a breaking point.

Steve Wanner 是 Ernst & Young 备受尊敬的 37 岁合伙人,已婚并育有四个年幼的孩子。一年前我们见到他时,他每天工作 12 到 14 个小时,总是感到筋疲力尽,晚上很难与家人充分接触,这让他感到内疚和不满。他睡不好,没有时间运动,很少吃健康的饭菜,而是在跑步或办公桌前吃点东西。

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.

长时间工作的主要问题是时间是一种有限资源。而精力是另一回事。在物理学中定义为工作能力,能量来自人类的四大源泉:身体、情感、思想和精神。在每一个中,能量都可以通过建立特定的方式来系统地扩展和定期更新 - 通过有意识地练习和精确安排的行为,目标是尽快使它们无意识和自动。

To effectively reenergize their workforces, organizations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.


The rituals and behaviors Wanner established to better manage his energy transformed his life. He set an earlier bedtime and gave up drinking, which had disrupted his sleep. As a consequence, when he woke up he felt more rested and more motivated to exercise, which he now does almost every morning. In less than two months he lost 15 pounds. After working out he now sits down with his family for breakfast. Wanner still puts in long hours on the job, but he renews himself regularly along the way. He leaves his desk for lunch and usually takes a morning and an afternoon walk outside. When he arrives at home in the evening, he’s more relaxed and better able to connect with his wife and children.

Wanner 为更好地管理能量而建立的仪式和行为改变了他的生活。他设定了较早的就寝时间并戒掉了影响睡眠的饮酒。结果,当他醒来时,他感到更加休息,更有动力锻炼,现在他几乎每天早上都这样做。在不到两个月的时间里,他减掉了 15 磅。锻炼后,他现在和家人坐下来吃早餐。 Wanner 的工作时间仍然很长,但在此过程中他会定期更新自己。他离开办公桌去吃午饭,通常早上和下午到外面散步。晚上回到家,他更放松,也能更好地与妻子和孩子联系。

Linking Capacity and Performance at Wachovia

Establishing simple rituals like these can lead to striking results across organizations. At Wachovia Bank, we took a group of employees through a pilot energy management program and then measured their performance against that of a control group. The participants outperformed the controls on a series of financial metrics, such as the value of loans they generated. They also reported substantial improvements in their customer relationships, their engagement with work, and their personal satisfaction. In this article, we’ll describe the Wachovia study in a little more detail. Then we’ll explain what executives and managers can do to increase and regularly renew work capacity—the approach used by the Energy Project, which builds on, deepens, and extends several core concepts developed by Tony’s former partner Jim Loehr in his seminal work with athletes.

建立像这样的简单仪式可以在整个组织中产生惊人的结果。在 Wachovia 银行,我们让一组员工完成了一项试点能源管理计划,然后根据对照组的表现衡量他们的表现。参与者在一系列财务指标上的表现优于控制,例如他们产生的贷款价值。他们还报告说,他们的客户关系、工作参与度和个人满意度得到了显着改善。在本文中,我们将更详细地描述 Wachovia 研究。然后我们将解释高管和经理可以做些什么来提高和定期更新工作能力——能源项目使用的方法,它建立、深化和扩展了托尼的前合伙人吉姆洛尔在他的开创性工作中开发的几个核心概念运动员。

Most large organizations invest in developing employees’ skills, knowledge, and competence. Very few help build and sustain their capacity—their energy—which is typically taken for granted. In fact, greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability. Our experience at Wachovia bore this out.

大多数大型组织都投资于发展员工的技能、知识和能力。很少有人帮助建立和维持他们的能力——他们的能量——这通常被认为是理所当然的。事实上,更大的能力可以在更短的时间内以更高的参与度和更高的可持续性完成更多的工作。我们在 Wachovia 的经历证明了这一点。

In early 2006 we took 106 employees at 12 regional banks in southern New Jersey through a curriculum of four modules, each of which focused on specific strategies for strengthening one of the four main dimensions of energy. We delivered it at one-month intervals to groups of approximately 20 to 25, ranging from senior leaders to lower-level managers. We also assigned each attendee a fellow employee as a source of support between sessions. Using Wachovia’s own key performance metrics, we evaluated how the participant group performed compared with a group of employees at similar levels at a nearby set of Wachovia banks who did not go through the training. To create a credible basis for comparison, we looked at year-over-year percentage changes in performance across several metrics.

2006 年初,我们通过四个模块的课程让新泽西州南部 12 家地区银行的 106 名员工参加,每个模块都侧重于加强能源四个主要方面之一的具体战略。我们每隔一个月将它交付给大约 20 到 25 人的小组,从高级领导到低级管理人员。我们还为每位与会者分配了一名同事作为会议之间的支持来源。使用 Wachovia 自己的关键绩效指标,我们评估了参与者组与附近一组未接受培训的 Wachovia 银行的相似级别员工相比的表现。为了建立一个可靠的比较基础,我们研究了多个指标的年度绩效百分比变化。

On a measure called the “Big 3”—revenues from three kinds of loans—the participants showed a year-over-year increase that was 13 percentage points greater than the control group’s in the first three months of our study. On revenues from deposits, the participants exceeded the control group’s year-over-year gain by 20 percentage points during that same period. The precise gains varied month by month, but with only a handful of exceptions, the participants continued to significantly outperform the control group for a full year after completing the program. Although other variables undoubtedly influenced these outcomes, the participants’ superior performance was notable in its consistency. (See the exhibit “How Energy Renewal Programs Boosted Productivity at Wachovia.”)

在一项名为“三大”(三种贷款的收入)的衡量标准中,参与者在我们研究的前三个月表现出同比增长,比对照组高 13 个百分点。在存款收入方面,参与者同期比对照组的同比增长高出 20 个百分点。精确的收益逐月变化,但除了少数例外,参与者在完成计划后的一整年中继续显着优于对照组。尽管其他变量无疑会影响这些结果,但参与者的卓越表现在其一致性方面是显着的。 (参见展览“能源更新计划如何提高 Wachovia 的生产力”。)

How Energy Renewal Programs Boosted Productivity at Wachovia

At Wachovia Bank, employees participating in an energy renewal program outperformed a control group of employees

We also asked participants how the program influenced them personally. Sixty-eight percent reported that it had a positive impact on their relationships with clients and customers. Seventy-one percent said that it had a noticeable or substantial positive impact on their productivity and performance. These findings corroborated a raft of anecdotal evidence we’ve gathered about the effectiveness of this approach among leaders at other large companies such as Ernst & Young, Sony, Deutsche Bank, Nokia, ING Direct, Ford, and MasterCard.

我们还询问参与者该计划如何影响他们个人。 68% 的受访者表示,这对他们与客户的关系产生了积极影响。 71% 的受访者表示,这对他们的生产力和绩效产生了显着或实质性的积极影响。这些发现证实了我们在安永、索尼、德意志银行、诺基亚、ING Direct、福特和万事达卡等其他大公司的领导者中收集到的关于这种方法有效性的大量轶事证据。


The Body: Physical Energy

Our program begins by focusing on physical energy. It is scarcely news that inadequate nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest diminish people’s basic energy levels, as well as their ability to manage their emotions and focus their attention. Nonetheless, many executives don’t find ways to practice consistently healthy behaviors, given all the other demands in their lives.


Before participants in our program begin to explore ways to increase their physical energy, they take an energy audit, which includes four questions in each energy dimension—body, emotions, mind, and spirit. (See the exhibit “Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis?”) On average, participants get eight to ten of those 16 questions “wrong,” meaning they’re doing things such as skipping breakfast, failing to express appreciation to others, struggling to focus on one thing at a time, or spending too little time on activities that give them a sense of purpose. While most participants aren’t surprised to learn these behaviors are counterproductive, having them all listed in one place is often uncomfortable, sobering, and galvanizing. The audit highlights employees’ greatest energy deficits. Participants also fill out charts designed to raise their awareness about how their exercise, diet, and sleep practices influence their energy levels.

在我们计划的参与者开始探索增加体能的方法之前,他们进行了能量调查,其中包括每个能量维度的四个问题——身体、情绪、思想和精神。 (参见展览“你是否正走向能源危机?”)平均而言,参与者在这 16 个问题中有 8 到 10 个问题是“错误的”,这意味着他们正在做一些事情,例如不吃早餐、未能表达对他人的欣赏、挣扎于一次只专注于一件事,或者花太少时间在让他们有目标感的活动上。虽然大多数参与者对这些行为适得其反并不感到惊讶,但将它们全部列在通常会让人感到不舒服、发人深省和振奋人心的一个地方。审计突出了员工最大的能源赤字。参与者还填写了旨在提高他们对锻炼、饮食和睡眠习惯如何影响他们能量水平的认识的图表。

Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis?

Please check the statements below that are true for you.


__ I don’t regularly get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired.

__ I frequently skip breakfast, or I settle for something that isn’t nutritious.

__ I don’t work out enough (meaning cardiovascular training at least three times a week and strength training at least once a week).

__ I don’t take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch at my desk, if I eat it at all.


__ I frequently find myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious at work, especially when work is demanding.

__ I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not always really with them.

__ I have too little time for the activities that I most deeply enjoy.

__ I don’t stop frequently enough to express my appreciation to others or to savor my accomplishments and blessings.


__ I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day, especially by e-mail.

__ I spend much of my day reacting to immediate crises and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value and high leverage.

__ I don’t take enough time for reflection, strategizing, and creative thinking.

__ I work in the evenings or on weekends, and I almost never take an e-mail–free vacation.


__ I don’t spend enough time at work doing what I do best and enjoy most.

__ There are significant gaps between what I say is most important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.

__ My decisions at work are more often influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose.

__ I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world.• • •

How is your overall energy?

Total number of statements checked: __

Guide to scores

0–3: Excellent energy management skills

4–6: Reasonable energy management skills

7–10: Significant energy management deficits

11–16: A full-fledged energy management crisis

What do you need to work on?

Number of checks in each category:

Body __

Mind __

Emotions __

Spirit __

Guide to category scores

0: Excellent energy management skills

1: Strong energy management skills

2: Significant deficits

3: Poor energy management skills

4: A full-fledged energy crisis

The next step is to identify rituals for building and renewing physical energy. When Gary Faro, a vice president at Wachovia, began the program, he was significantly overweight, ate poorly, lacked a regular exercise routine, worked long hours, and typically slept no more than five or six hours a night. That is not an unusual profile among the leaders and managers we see. Over the course of the program, Faro began regular cardiovascular and strength training. He started going to bed at a designated time and sleeping longer. He changed his eating habits from two big meals a day (“Where I usually gorged myself,” he says) to smaller meals and light snacks every three hours. The aim was to help him stabilize his glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys. He lost 50 pounds in the process, and his energy levels soared. “I used to schedule tough projects for the morning, when I knew that I would be more focused,” Faro says. “I don’t have to do that anymore because I find that I’m just as focused now at 5 pm as I am at 8 am.”

下一步是确定建立和更新身体能量的仪式。当 Wachovia 的副总裁 Gary Faro 开始这个项目时,他明显超重,吃得不好,缺乏规律的锻炼,工作时间很长,而且通常每晚睡眠时间不超过五六个小时。在我们看到的领导者和管理者中,这种情况并不罕见。在计划过程中,法鲁开始定期进行心血管和力量训练。他开始在指定的时间睡觉并且睡得更久。他改变了自己的饮食习惯,从一天两顿大餐(“我通常在那里大吃大喝,”他说)改为每三个小时吃一顿小餐和小吃。目的是帮助他在一天中稳定血糖水平,避免出现高峰和低谷。在这个过程中他减掉了 50 磅,他的能量水平飙升。“我过去常常将艰巨的项目安排在早上,那时我知道我会更加专注,”法鲁说。 “我不必再这样做了,因为我发现我现在下午 5 点和早上 8 点一样专注。”

Another key ritual Faro adopted was to take brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday—always leaving his desk. The value of such breaks is grounded in our physiology. “Ultradian rhythms” refer to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies slowly move from a high-energy state into a physiological trough. Toward the end of each cycle, the body begins to crave a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working. The consequence is that our energy reservoir—our remaining capacity—burns down as the day wears on.

Faro 采用的另一个关键习惯是在整个工作日的特定时间间隔进行短暂但有规律的休息——总是离开他的办公桌。这种休息的价值基于我们的生理学。 “超常节律”是指 90 到 120 分钟的周期,在此期间,我们的身体从高能量状态缓慢进入生理低谷。在每个周期结束时,身体开始渴望一段恢复期。这些信号包括身体不安、打哈欠、饥饿和难以集中注意力,但我们中的许多人忽略了它们并继续工作。结果是我们的能量库——我们剩余的容量——随着时间的推移而消耗殆尽。

Intermittent breaks for renewal, we have found, result in higher and more sustainable performance. The length of renewal is less important than the quality. It is possible to get a great deal of recovery in a short time—as little as several minutes—if it involves a ritual that allows you to disengage from work and truly change channels. That could range from getting up to talk to a colleague about something other than work, to listening to music on an iPod, to walking up and down stairs in an office building. While breaks are countercultural in most organizations and counterintuitive for many high achievers, their value is multifaceted.

我们发现,为了更新而间歇性休息会带来更高和更可持续的性能。更新的长度不如质量重要。如果涉及一种让您摆脱工作并真正改变渠道的仪式,则有可能在短时间内(少至几分钟)获得大量恢复。这可能包括起床与同事谈论工作以外的事情,在 iPod 上听音乐,在办公楼中上下楼梯。虽然休息在大多数组织中是反文化的,对许多高成就者来说也是违反直觉的,但它们的价值是多方面的。

Matthew Lang is a managing director for Sony in South Africa. He adopted some of the same rituals that Faro did, including a 20-minute walk in the afternoons. Lang’s walk not only gives him a mental and emotional breather and some exercise but also has become the time when he gets his best creative ideas. That’s because when he walks he is not actively thinking, which allows the dominant left hemisphere of his brain to give way to the right hemisphere with its greater capacity to see the big picture and make imaginative leaps.

Matthew Lang 是索尼在南非的董事总经理。他采用了法鲁所做的一些相同的仪式,包括下午 20 分钟的步行。朗的散步不仅让他得到了精神和情感上的喘息和锻炼,也成为了他获得最佳创意的时间。那是因为当他走路时,他没有积极思考,这使得他大脑的左半球占主导地位,让位于右半球,右半球具有更大的看大局和想象力的飞跃能力。

The Emotions: Quality of Energy

When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they’re facing. To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness. Most people realize that they tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy. What they find surprising is that they’re not able to perform well or to lead effectively when they’re feeling any other way.


Unfortunately, without intermittent recovery, we’re not physiologically capable of sustaining highly positive emotions for long periods. Confronted with relentless demands and unexpected challenges, people tend to slip into negative emotions—the fight-or-flight mode—often multiple times in a day. They become irritable and impatient, or anxious and insecure. Such states of mind drain people’s energy and cause friction in their relationships. Fight-or-flight emotions also make it impossible to think clearly, logically, and reflectively. When executives learn to recognize what kinds of events trigger their negative emotions, they gain greater capacity to take control of their reactions.


One simple but powerful ritual for defusing negative emotions is what we call “buying time.” Deep abdominal breathing is one way to do that. Exhaling slowly for five or six seconds induces relaxation and recovery, and turns off the fight-or-flight response. When we began working with Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Europe, he had a habit of lighting up a cigarette each time something especially stressful occurred—at least two or three times a day. Otherwise, he didn’t smoke. We taught him the breathing exercise as an alternative, and it worked immediately: Nishida found he no longer had the desire for a cigarette. It wasn’t the smoking that had given him relief from the stress, we concluded, but the relaxation prompted by the deep inhalation and exhalation.

消除负面情绪的一种简单但有效的仪式就是我们所说的“争取时间”。深腹式呼吸是一种方法。缓慢呼气五到六秒钟会导致放松和恢复,并关闭战斗或逃跑反应。当我们开始与索尼欧洲总裁 Fujio Nishida 合作时,他有一个习惯,每次发生特别紧张的事情时都会点燃一根烟——至少一天两三次。否则,他不抽烟。我们教他呼吸练习作为替代方法,它立即奏效:西田发现他不再想抽烟了。我们得出结论,不是吸烟让他从压力中解脱出来,而是深吸气和呼气所带来的放松。

A powerful ritual that fuels positive emotions is expressing appreciation to others, a practice that seems to be as beneficial to the giver as to the receiver. It can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, a call, or a conversation—and the more detailed and specific, the higher the impact. As with all rituals, setting aside a particular time to do it vastly increases the chances of success. Ben Jenkins, vice chairman and president of the General Bank at Wachovia in Charlotte, North Carolina, built his appreciation ritual into time set aside for mentoring. He began scheduling lunches or dinners regularly with people who worked for him. Previously, the only sit-downs he’d had with his direct reports were to hear monthly reports on their numbers or to give them yearly performance reviews. Now, over meals, he makes it a priority to recognize their accomplishments and also to talk with them about their lives and their aspirations rather than their immediate work responsibilities.

一种激发积极情绪的强大仪式是向他人表达感激之情,这种做法似乎对给予者和接受者同样有益。它可以采用手写便条、电子邮件、电话或对话的形式——越详细和具体,影响就越大。与所有仪式一样,留出特定时间来做这件事会大大增加成功的机会。本·詹金斯 (Ben Jenkins) 是北卡罗来纳州夏洛特市美联银行 (Wachovia) 的副董事长兼总裁,他将他的感谢仪式融入了为指导留出的时间。他开始定期与为他工作的人安排午餐或晚餐。以前,他与直接下属的唯一一次坐下来是听取关于他们的数字的月度报告或对他们进行年度绩效评估。现在,在用餐之余,他将认可他们的成就作为首要任务,并与他们谈论他们的生活和抱负,而不是他们眼前的工作职责。

Finally, people can cultivate positive emotions by learning to change thestories they tell themselves about the events in their lives. Often, people in conflict cast themselves in the role of victim, blaming others or external circumstances for their problems. Becoming aware of the difference between the facts in a given situation and the way we interpret those facts can be powerful in itself. It’s been a revelation for many of the people we work with to discover they have a choice about how to view a given event and to recognize how powerfully the story they tell influences the emotions they feel. We teach them to tell the most hopeful and personally empowering story possible in any given situation, without denying or minimizing the facts.


The most effective way people can change a story is to view it through any of three new lenses, which are all alternatives to seeing the world from the victim perspective. With the reverse lens, for example, people ask themselves, “What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?” With the long lens they ask, “How will I most likely view this situation in six months?” With the wide lens they ask themselves, “Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?” Each of these lenses can help people intentionally cultivate more positive emotions.


Nicolas Babin, director of corporate communications for Sony Europe, was the point person for calls from reporters when Sony went through several recalls of its batteries in 2006. Over time he found his work increasingly exhausting and dispiriting. After practicing the lens exercises, he began finding ways to tell himself a more positive and empowering story about his role. “I realized,” he explains, “that this was an opportunity for me to build stronger relationships with journalists by being accessible to them and to increase Sony’s credibility by being straightforward and honest.”

索尼欧洲公司公关总监尼古拉斯·巴宾 (Nicolas Babin) 在 2006 年索尼经历了几次电池召回时,是记者电话中的重点人物。随着时间的推移,他发现自己的工作越来越疲惫和令人沮丧。在练习了镜头练习后,他开始想方设法向自己讲述一个关于他的角色的更积极、更有力量的故事。 “我意识到,”他解释说,“这对我来说是一个机会,可以通过接触记者与他们建立更牢固的关系,并通过直率和诚实来提高索尼的可信度。”

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