At the end of the day, do you find yourself wondering where the day went and why you didn’t get more done?

I used to think this was because I had poor time management habits. But after reading an article on the differences between energy management and time management, I realized I was wrong. Mainly, I need to pay more attention to my different energy levels throughout the day.

Not so long ago, I would have sworn I was a night person. I liked to stay up late and had the energy to get a lot done. But in the morning, I was no good until after I had a couple cups of coffee.

OK, so I still need my morning coffee, but now I know that I concentrate better in the mornings and have a lot of energy. These days, I’m nodding off by 10 p.m. And even if I have a low-carb lunch, I have trouble concentrating in the afternoon.

This article explained the differences between time management and energy management. Time management helps you prioritize your workload during the day. You make a list of things to do and then prioritize the items on the list. For me, that meant leaving the more difficult tasks until later in the day when I was hitting my stride—which, I discovered, was no longer working for me.

The most important thing is to be mindful and recognize when in the day you feel the most energized. When I started doing that, I realized that things had changed. For the most part, I discovered that mornings are when I concentrate more easily. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or the rhythm of life when working from home and not in the office, but it’s absolutely true: I am now (gasp) a morning person!

Even if most mornings are good for me, energy ebbs and flows, and there are some mornings when I have a hard time getting it together. Now I know I need to prioritize my work in tandem with how my energy is each day. So, I usually plan to do my most difficult tasks in the morning to get them out of the way. I save the easier things for the afternoon. Having things checked off my list helps propel me through the afternoon.

One last thing: Recognize the importance of taking a break. I used to work through breaks and have lunch at my desk, but this would sap my energy. The boost I get from taking a break more than makes up for my time away.

I hope these tips work for you as well as they do for me. Keep in mind, your EAP is an excellent resource for finding the support you need to become your best self. To learn more about FEI’s EAP, please click here.