Focusing on energy, rather than schedules, in the workplace requires looking for ways to conserve energy, generate energy, sustain energy, and follow energy. Energy isn’t stagnant; it’s either increasing or decreasing, always. Pay attention to all of the sources of energy that invigorate you, your team, and your organization, and eliminate or avoid the things that zap energy and create drag. Table 5.5 contains a summary of suggestions for doing this.

Table 5.5 Summary of Energy, Not Schedules, for Organizations, Leaders, and Individuals

Individuals Get clear on your river of energy: when you work best and when you shouldn’t work at all.
Advertise your morning or night handicap, and negotiate a work schedule that flows with your river of energy.
Schedule recovery time after cycles of hard work—within each day and for longer-term projects.
Pay attention to your gut signals regarding low-value work.
Leaders Highlight True Urgency projects and deadlines.
Empower workgroups to coordinate the best schedules for individual team members.
Organizations Create workspaces that enable individuals to recharge.
Align work with natural channels of behavior.
Eliminate bureaucracy and bad managers.
Everyone Redefine what work looks like.
Be kindly honest, not passive-aggressive.
Focus on value, and all else will follow.


1. Cockburn, Alistair. Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2005.

2. Loehr, James ...

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