The “Work Less, More Success” Guide to Time Management – Step Six

The final step in our series on the Productivity Workflow Formula™ (PWF)

Manage Your Capacity

Step 6: Manage Your Capacity: REDUCE ENERGY EXPENDITURES

The best-laid workflow plan will fall apart if you don’t have the energy to sustain it. Therefore, Step 6 focuses on keeping yourself physically and mentally fit, through a combination of good sleep, diet, exercise, and preservation of personal happiness. Taken together, these form the hub that links and strengthens the other PWF steps.

Begin by recognizing the limits of your personal “battery.” You can only go so far before you run out of energy, so know when to slow down and recharge. Don’t skip your scheduled breaks—stretch breaks, meals, personal time, weekends, and vacations—or fatigue may eventually overwhelm you.

You can’t stay productive if you don’t get good, restorative sleep every night. Like it or not, your muscles require rest, your body chemistry needs time to reset, and your subconscious mind has to process new information. Do your best to encourage sleep on a regular schedule by establishing a peaceful environment, and avoid using your bedroom as an office.

Excess weight will also drag you down, so keep an eye on your diet, focusing on portion control and energy-boosting foods. Pair that with regular exercise. This can include anything from “subversive” activities you can engage in while going about your normal workday (like taking the stairs rather than the elevator), to working out at the gym twice a week.

Don’t forget your mental health. If you can’t maintain a high level of enthusiasm for your work, you can’t stay at your productive best. Seek out happiness by making empowered choices, surrounding yourself with fun things, spending time with your family, doing nice things for people, cherishing yourself, and finding ways to laugh at adversity. All this will help you maintain a fresh, can-do attitude.

Staying on Top of Your Life

There’s no doubt your career is important: you spend more than half of your waking life either working or preparing to. But you can’t let it override everything else. For the sake of your mental and physical health—not to mention your friends and family—you’ve got to curb your workaholic tendencies.

Yes, working 70-hour weeks can make you fantastically productive…in the short term. But over time, you’ll wear down to a ghost of your former self. Eventually something will break, and suddenly, your productivity will drop to nil. Like an overpowered light bulb, you’ll produce a lot of heat and light for a while, but suddenly you’ll burn out, much sooner than you should. Even if that doesn’t happen, don’t fool yourself: no matter how hard you work today, you can’t guarantee corporate leadership will remember your sacrifice tomorrow. You might end up with a pink slip anyway.

Rather than grow old and break down before your time, implement my Productivity Workflow Formula in your career. These six steps are logical, straightforward, and can help you reduce your workload to a reasonable level, resulting in a work/life balance you can live with over the long haul. Sure, hard work may be good for the soul—but moderation will keep you healthy.

You can get the full details on all six steps in What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do, my brand new handbook for maximizing workplace productivity without running yourself into the ground. Buy your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or 800CEORead and email your receipt to [email protected] for special bonuses by author friends of Laura Stack. Visit for complete details.