Episode: The Time-Energy Paradox

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Michael Hyatt: You’re driving down the highway when you hear a familiar sound. You glance at the dashboard and see that the low-level fuel light is on, but it’s almost 8:00 and you’re still 15 miles from work. What do you do? You can probably make it that far without running out of gas, so you might be tempted to keep going, but what if it were 20 miles or 25 or maybe even 30? How far would you drive on empty?

Megan Hyatt Miller: For most of us, we think we can go about 40 miles. That’s according to a recent study by the Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company. The study was commissioned after a sharp increase in the number of drivers who ran out of gas. Nearly a million motorists in the UK ignored the low fuel light and got stranded.

One reason was they overestimated how far they could drive on empty, and some were too concerned about being late or spending too much on gas. More than half of the drivers reported passing at the gas station, trying to find a lower price. More than two-thirds said they never fill their tank up all the way, and two million motorists admitted their low fuel light is on nearly all the time.

Michael: It seems most drivers are more worried about being late for work than running out of gas, but running out of gas can be expensive. Besides making you walk to the nearest exit, it can damage your car’s fuel pump, which means a costly repair. All of this begs an obvious question. What is your most important resource? Time or fuel?

Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt.

Megan: And I’m Megan Hyatt Miller.

Michael:  And this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. In this episode, we’ll talk about the time-energy paradox. When it comes to managing ourselves, most people have the same mindset as those stranded motorists. They keep an eye on the clock but completely ignore their most valuable asset. Today, I’ll reveal three secrets for managing your most important productivity resource: your energy.

Megan: Also in this episode we’ll hear from sleep expert Shawn Stevenson on the value of sleep and from our own Danielle Rodgers on the connection between meditation and energy. Later on, we’ll share our own personal systems for matching our best energy to our most important work each day. This is the second of three episodes on productivity, so if you missed last week’s episode on The High Cost of Overwork, be sure to check that out. This week, we’re talking about The Time-Energy Paradox. Dad, exactly what is that?

Michael: Well, it’s this: time is fixed but energy flexes. I think it’s easy to get this wrong. For years, early in my career, I went to all kinds of time management seminars. I listened to an entire series of cassette tapes. You’re too young to remember those.

Megan: I do remember those, actually.

Michael: But a whole series on time management I got from Nightingale-Conant, and everything was about time management, time management, time management. But I discovered it really wasn’t about time management at all; it was really about managing your energy. The reason is time is fixed. You have 168 hours in the week, 60 minutes to the hour, but energy can come and go. There are times when you wake up energized, times when you wake up groggy, times when after lunch you have some energy, times when you might be groggy.

Our energy fluctuates during the day. I think to be aware of those two things… Oh, by the way, when you’re energetic, when you’re fully focused and feeling really productive and high-energy, you can accomplish so much more, so it doesn’t have to do with managing the time; it has to do with managing energy. The more energetic you feel, the more productive you’re going to be.

Megan: That makes sense. So why do you think time management is thought of as a science but not really energy management?

Michael: Well, I think it’s kind of coming into its own more and more. I remember reading a book several years ago called The Power of Full Engagement, and it was really putting forth this idea that it’s about energy management. I’ve heard Tim Ferriss talk about it. I’ve heard some other people talk about it. So I think there’s more and more science that’s building around this, because I think time management sort of feels old school to most people anyway.

Nobody wants to live in that kind of highly structured life. If you think about it, we’re not machines, and that whole time management thing really comes out of the world of efficiency studies and the real focus on productivity as using every second. Well, there are times when we just need to lay back and not be so productive in order that we can be more productive on those times when we really want to focus and be zoned in on efficiency and effectiveness.

Megan: And if you’re a machine, your energy doesn’t ebb and flow. The whole point of having a machine is consistency, but humans are not like that at all. Thinking about energy management is a much more holistic and profoundly humanizing way to think of time management or just management of the things you’re trying to accomplish in your life when you take into account a more whole person view of it.

Michael: If you look at the time of industrialization and machines and mass production and all that, there was this fascination with machines. So if we could just reduce people to that efficiency of a machine, the whole system would be more productive, but it didn’t take into account the fact that we’re not machines. We’re humans, and we have our own issues we have to deal with, our own psychology, our own emotions, and, as it turns out, our own energy level.

Megan: Absolutely. I love this quote by Oprah Winfrey, because it reminds me of what we can do to manage our own energy. She says you’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy you bring to others. I love that.

Michael: I do too, and I’ve heard somebody say this. It might have been Brendon Burchard. He asked the question, “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?” In other words, do you just kind of reflect the energy around you or do you cause the temperature, cause the energy in this case?

I think once we realize, in essence, we can manufacture our own energy… We take responsibility for it. It’s not up to somebody else to motivate me or to make me energetic. That’s me. A lot of it is super practical, which we’re going to get into in a little bit. It’s about how much rest we’re getting. It’s about the foods we consume and all that, but I don’t want to steal our thunder from later in the show.

Megan: Speaking of that, you’re going to talk about your three top secrets for improving productivity by managing your energy.

Michael: Secret one is don’t sacrifice sleep for work.

Megan: This is a big one.

Michael: It’s a huge one. Most of us think we can do this on an exception basis, like, “Look, I know I normally need seven or eight hours of sleep, but tonight I have to power through because I have a big project due tomorrow.” I was tempted to do it this week. I was trying to get a project we’re doing to the printer, and it had to be there because we have team training scheduled for tomorrow, so I thought, “I have to power through this to get it done.”

The problem is that could become a pattern, and the exception becomes the rule, and then we develop a lifestyle around it. As I said, you can’t sacrifice sleep for work because rest is the primary driver of mental and physical energy.

Megan: By the way, I feel like if you are listening to this and you don’t take anything else but this away from this podcast, this is the most valuable thing, if you’re not doing it already, that you can implement in your life: getting enough sleep.

Michael: Totally. The more tired I am, the dumber I get.

Megan: Me too.

Michael: The more tired I am, the less productive I get, the more I have to do things over and over again. Get this. According to the research, 40 percent of people don’t get enough sleep. How many of you can say “Amen” to that? Americans average 6.8 hours of sleep, and that’s down more than an hour since 1942. Experts recommend seven to nine hours per night. How much do you sleep at night?

Megan: I probably sleep around eight hours, maybe seven and a half, but what’s interesting is elite athletes, people who are seriously concerned with performance, sleep a lot more than that, like 10, 12-plus even, which is just hard to imagine. That’s like a part-time job just sleeping. It’s interesting to contrast that with what so many of us do.

Michael: I’m like you. I typically get seven and a half, occasionally eight. One night last week I slept nine hours, which was really unusual. The difference in the way I feel… It’s unbelievable. A good night’s sleep cures a lot of problems. You can have a bad attitude, you can be discouraged, you can feel like you’re behind, you can feel overwhelmed. A good night’s sleep. Bam! You feel fantastic.

Megan: Yep.

Michael: Medical studies relate lack of sleep to cognitive impairment, things like accidents, memory loss. I mean, how often have you sat there and tried to remember something and just went, “I’m just too tired; I can’t remember this”? Mood changes, trouble concentrating, difficulty making decisions… So trying to go without sleep in order to work more actually makes you less productive.

Megan: It’s even worse than that, because if you’re a leader and your team and your company are depending on you for your decision-making ability and your decision making is impaired because you’re not sleeping enough, the consequences can be catastrophic. If you do that chronically, your ability to make good decisions (which really, if you boil down leadership, is one of the primary functions of it) is in a really tricky, risky place.

Michael: By the way, this makes you wonder why in medical programs, like in residency programs, they have people working 24-hour shifts. I want to get the doctor at the beginning of the shift, not the end. This is crazy.

Megan: In fact, there’s research that says if you’re the patient who… I read this in a book by Daniel Pink that I think we’ll reference later. If you’re the patient at 2:00 p.m. or after in the afternoon, the likelihood of medical accidents or errors is exponentially greater than in the morning.

Michael: Because of fatigue. I know my decision-making ability after lunch is much worse than it is first thing in the morning.

Megan: Recently we chatted with our friend Shawn Stevenson on the importance of sleep for your physical and mental energy. Listen to what he has to say.

Shawn Stevenson: More than ever today, people are starting to realize just how much our sleep quality impacts our mental performance. There was a study that was published in the Lancet recently, and this was a physician study. They actually were studying physicians. They had them come in and complete a task, and after they completed the task they monitored their results.

Then they sleep-deprived them for just 24 hours, which is known as a short sleep debt, and it’s very common in that field. They had them come back and do the same thing again, exactly the same task. Now here’s the rub. Being sleep-deprived caused them to make 20 percent more mistakes. Twenty percent more mistakes doing the same exact thing. It also caused them to take 14 percent longer doing the same exact thing.

This gets into the crux of the situation, where we start to see ourselves mistaking doing work for actually being effective. We want to be effective so we can really optimize our time, get the most value creation possible in the time we’re actually working. We’re not having to go back and clean up the mess we’re making. That really requires us to have an optimized brain.

So what’s going on behind the scenes? I always like to analyze that. This has to do with literally energy reaching your brain. If we look at brain scans done from the University of California, Berkeley… They took brain imaging scans of somebody who was well rested and then sleep-deprived. Again, just a short sleep debt. They found that there was a dramatic suppression of activity in the prefrontal cortex. That part of the brain started to go “cold.”

This is the part of your brain responsible for your executive functions, for decision making, for distinguishing between right and wrong, for social control. That part of your brain starts to shut down with just a short amount of sleep debt. Here’s what also happened. They found there was excessively heightened activity in the part of the brain known as the amygdala. This is the more primitive, fight or flight, “only concerned about survival” part of our brain.

That part of the brain was lit up. We have a tendency to make not the best decisions when we’re tired. But most of the time, because of stimulants, because of just ignoring the fact that we are tired and we need to get good sleep, we just keep pushing through and making terrible mistakes, saying the wrong things, sending that email we might not have sent and regretting later, because that part of our brain that says, “Hey, wait a minute; you need to think about this” is literally shut down.

I just want everybody to keep that in mind and keep that in context as we move forward in growing our businesses, growing our relationships, our family, our health, and fitness. It’s a lot harder to do those things and to optimize all of those areas if we’re sleep-deprived. That’s why this matters. In our culture today, where it’s just these taglines of “Sleep is for suckers,” “I’ll sleep when I’m dead…” No. You’ll just be dead. We actually need to optimize our sleep now so we can live better, so we can live more and get the most juice out of the time we actually have.

Michael: Secret two is to fuel your body with whole foods. You and I had a discussion before we got on the air today that there are no good foods or bad foods, because if you try to restrict yourself and stay away from certain foods, that tends to make you psychologically crave those foods, which actually works against you. So we’re not talking about good foods and bad foods; we’re talking about being strategic with fueling our energy so that, when we want to, we can perform at our maximum energetic level.

There are times when I’m going to suggest there are certain foods that are not that helpful for energy, but even I indulge in those kinds of foods from time to time. One of the things that’s not that helpful for energy management is anything related to high-glycemic carbs. That would be things like pasta, white bread, certain kinds of fruit even, like bananas. Those are things that are going to give you instant energy, but it’s the kind of energy that fizzles out very quickly, so then you set yourself up for a slump or a trough that’s actually worse than when you began.

Again, I like pizza occasionally. I’ll eat a sandwich or pasta occasionally, but I typically don’t eat it when I want to be productive, so for lunch I stay away from those kinds of foods. Other kinds of foods that are not that helpful are soda, candy bars, chocolate, coffee, energy drinks. Energy drinks are the worst because you think, “I’m going to take this and I’m going to have a lot of energy,” because that’s how it’s advertised, that’s how it is marketed to us. Yeah, you’re going to get a boost for about 20 or 30 minutes and then crash.

Megan: You’re really just trying to have a level of energy that is maintained and strong enough to keep you going, so if you spike it… The other part of this is if you don’t eat at all, like if you skip lunch, that’s a big problem.

Michael: Huge problem.

Megan: You really end up with the same issue, but it’s caused by something different, where you’re underfeeding yourself, and at some point you just run out of gas.

Michael: It’s like that false economy of thinking, “Look, I don’t have time to stop and eat lunch, so I’m just going to power through my work here at my desk and not eat.” Not a good idea. It’s like trying to power through without stopping at the gas station, like we were talking about in the opener. The same kind of logic applies here. What we want is regular refueling, so, eating a breakfast, eating a lunch, eating a dinner. Even in between, strategic snacking on healthy snacks can keep our blood sugar level level and keep us productive all day long.

Megan: I try to keep some snacks in my office that I feel like would fit the bill, things I really enjoy but also help to maintain my energy during the afternoon.

Michael: What would some of those be?

Megan: Things like popcorn, which has a lot of fiber in it, and coconut oil, which helps to level out that blood sugar, beef jerky…just things like that, little things that are shelf staples so I don’t have to refrigerate them. They can be right near my desk, but they give me a little kick of protein. You know, some nuts…that kind of stuff.

Michael: Yeah, I tend to do nuts. Pistachios are my favorite. Almonds too. Then I’ll also have things like celery sticks or carrots. Unfortunately, those have to be refrigerated, so I have to go into the refrigerator to get them, but that’s also a helpful break, to get away from my desk and take a short walk, get stuff out of the refrigerator. Maybe even some almond butter on it. Just a snack in between meals.

Megan: The truth is that’s one of the ways you can help if you’re a chronic meal skipper. Keep things in your office that could make up a meal, you know, you could get enough calories and enough energy out of what you’re eating. You could have those things in your office, like almond butter, nuts, jerky, whatever it might be that you enjoy, but have those things on hand so there’s never the excuse of, “I just don’t have time to leave the office to go get something.” It can work really well.

So strategic nutrition is one part, a really important part of managing your energy, but there’s another secret you want to share with us that’s equally important.

Michael: This is number three: conserve mental energy by making fewer decisions.

Megan: This is so huge.

Michael: Get this. First of all, we all know too many decisions sap our mental energy, but I saw this statistic recently. I think this was a Cornell University study. We make some 35,000 decisions each day. Most of those we’re not even conscious of. We make 226 decisions on food alone. So, what? When? Where? With whom? How much? How many? Your mom and I, when we’re talking about which restaurant to go to… That’s probably 40 decisions right there.

Megan: Exactly. And this is a really big challenge for leaders: decision fatigue. I know I experience this sometimes myself. In fact, it happened to me recently. We were planning our big team retreat we just did a few weeks back. It’s a big event for us. We do it once a year. We take our whole team away to celebrate. Our team was trying to decide on table seating, how we were going to arrange tables to facilitate great conversation.

Michael: Another 50 decisions right there.

Megan: At least. I don’t know what the number of combinations there could be between 30 people, but it’s crazy. Somehow I got brought into that conversation at some point. I was like, “What am I doing? Why am I in this conversation? I have people in this room right now who are much more qualified than I am to make these decisions.”

It was a day we were leading a workshop, and it was over lunch or something. I thought, “This is going to drain energy I need to be giving to our clients that someone else is far better equipped to make.” I think, as leaders, it’s critical that we’re wise to that and that we’re very, very, very discriminating about what decisions we allow ourselves to make and that we challenge ourselves constantly to delegate anything that’s not essential for us to do to our team.

Michael: If I could modify a Dawson Trotman quote I often make, it would be like this: “Never make any decision that others can or will make when there’s so much to decide that only you can make.” Just focus on the things where you add value. Like, I’m on this board of a school, and we had an issue with some students a couple of weeks ago.

There were like 30 emails that were flying back and forth, and then the president of the school wanted to have a meeting to decide what to do about this. I thought, “Good grief. Three people just need to get on the phone for about two minutes and decide this, and one of them doesn’t need to be me. I have nothing to contribute here.” So I just removed myself from the conversation.

Megan: It’s funny, because when you’re a young or inexperienced leader you often try to hoard decision making because it makes you feel powerful. It makes you feel like you have influence and all that. But if you’re not careful, as you mature in your career, to transition and to intentionally delegate, you’ll still be in that trap, except they exponentially multiply over time, and all of a sudden you have all of these people who are dependent upon you as a chief decision maker for everything from “What kind of coffee do we buy?” to “Are we going to acquire that company?” and it’s just crushing. It’s not sustainable.

Michael: It is, and you train people to do that. If you’re second-guessing their decisions… You don’t need to have a preference on everything, for starters.

Megan: That’s a key point. Say more about that.

Michael: Like, for example, the furniture for our new office. You have completely picked that out. I have no idea what you bought, and I don’t care.

Megan: I don’t even remember what I bought at this point.

Michael: I know it’s going to be awesome, but I just don’t care. Paint colors…all that kind of stuff. It’s just somebody needs to make that decision. But here’s another reason. The farther you move up the food chain, so to speak, the more leadership responsibility you get, the more you’re going to get difficult decisions.

The decisions that can’t be solved below you suddenly get pushed up to you, so you need all your brain power, all your emotional strength to focus on those few big, thorny, complex decisions that only you can sort through, and you don’t need to be dealing with all of the trivial stuff that comes at you. Now here’s what’s interesting. According to a Columbia University study, when we have too many choices it actually makes us less effective in decision making.

Megan: No doubt.

Michael: Because you only have so much decision-making energy. Successful people protect their brain power by reducing their decisions. Now I’ve not quite gone where I’m going to suggest here, but Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs both wore the same outfit every day. My friend (I think I can tell this because he has told me and I think he has said it on social media) David Molnar, who’s a photographer friend of ours, has 14 or 15 of the same exact V-neck tee shirts, and that’s what he wears every single day.

Megan: At least it’s not a mock turtle. Way to go on that, David.

Michael: I like the mock turtles.

Megan: I like that you’re pushing us into the future with that tee shirt style. So, Danielle Rodgers, who is our HR manager, recently talked to us about the value of meditation in conserving mental energy.

Danielle Rodgers: I’ve really found that mindfulness and taking the opportunity to be able to meditate is a great gift I can give to myself. I have found that it is profoundly helpful just to take a few minutes each day to do some deep breathing. You know, breathing in deep through my nose, out through my mouth.

I’ve found that a lot of times, as women, we happen to also be shallow breathers, so it’s helpful to release some of the stress and anxiety that builds up in our shoulders and neck through sitting at work all day or just from going through the constant reel of thoughts of “Have I prepared everything I need to to make sure my kids are going to be successful at school today? Have I lived up to my own expectations when it comes to my own career advancement? How is my husband doing? How is this? How is that?”

I find that we can oftentimes get lost in our own thoughts that can be self-defeating, and mindfulness exercises, meditation, just helps to bring me back to a place of being still and remembering I’m part of a larger picture and a bigger purpose. I’ve found in doing this I’ve been able to identify certain emotions and thoughts I had going on that I wouldn’t have even noticed if I didn’t take the time to pause, to be still, and to meditate.

Beyond all of what I’ve shared so far, I think the biggest thing is just giving myself permission to be imperfect with how I pursue meditation. I’m not looking to do it for 20 minutes at a time in perfect silence and 100 percent zen, whatever that means for you, but I’m looking to just take some time to myself to deep breathe, to be still, and to be mindful. That’s the best way to start.

Megan: Hey, Dad, before we continue on the time-energy paradox, you have something to share about a new free video series we have. Right?

Michael: Yeah, I’m super excited about this. It’s called “Your Instant Productivity Makeover: Proven Secrets to Cut Tasks, Reduce Stress, and Reclaim 10 Hours a Week.” It’s a three-part video series. It’s completely free, and it’s all about productivity. I talk to you about how to dramatically reduce the number of tasks on your task list. Listen to this. Most people are playing a game they can’t possibly win. They have too many tasks on their list. I talk to you about how to cut those down so you can really focus on what’s important and jettison the rest.

In addition to that, I’m talking about things like reducing stress, like managing your email, all the stuff all of us have to contend with that saps our productivity. At any rate, it’s free. Again, it’s a three-part series. I’m super excited about this. You will learn some really important stuff about productivity, how to take control of the things that matter and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Again, they’re free, and you can find out more at…


Michael: That’s it. So if you want to make-over your productivity, this is the place to go.

Megan: Okay, Dad. Now we’re going to share our own routines for managing energy throughout the day.

Michael: I’m excited about this, because I want to hear about your routine. I know what my routine is, and we end up always talking about my routine, but I want to hear what your routine is, because you represent an entire demographic I no longer represent. We want to talk about matching your workday to your natural rhythm. There’s something we discovered in the new Dan Pink book When called chronotypes.

The idea behind this is that you’re kind of born with this innate sense of energy or rhythm. Some people are more naturally morning types, some people are more naturally evening types, and some people (in fact, the great majority of people) are somewhere in the middle. Now I used to think… I got really moralistic on this and got on my high horse about “If you want to be productive, if you want to be successful, you have to be a morning person.”

But that’s not what the research shows. Some of the most successful, productive people have been night owls. So we’re not trying to moralize on what should be. We’re saying it’s worth taking stock of how you function, knowing your own natural rhythms and, instead of fighting those, actually working with them. So with that, let’s talk about your natural energy. What’s your chronotype?

Megan: As I remember it, there are larks, which are morning people, owls, which are night people, and then there apparently are the vast majority of us, over 50 percent, who are called third birds. Now I’m going to be honest. Dan, if you listen to our podcast, I feel like you could have tried a little harder on this one. Third bird? This is what I am. I would like to be a hummingbird or a bluebird or a stork.

Michael: An eagle.

Megan: Or an eagle. There are so many birds to choose from.

Michael: Penguin? Probably not a penguin.

Megan: No, I don’t want to be a penguin.

Michael: But something more than a third bird. I mean, that’s so abstract and nondescript.

Megan: I know. Anyway, we digress.

Michael: Dan, we love you.

Megan: We do. It’s a fascinating concept. The idea there is that you don’t function at your best if you wake up super early or go to bed super early or stay up super late and sleep super late. I think that kind of flies in the face (pun intended)…

Michael: That is borderline dad humor.

Megan: I totally thought of it and just laughed at myself. All right. This is really different than the kind of preferential treatment morning people have enjoyed for a long time.

Michael: For good reason.

Megan: Well, no.

Michael: Spoken like a lark. I’m speaking for the larks.

Megan: For me, I normally go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 and wake up probably around 6:00. That’s probably my ideal time. On a weekend, maybe a little bit later. The biggest part of my routine is making sure I get in bed on time. For me, if I’m in bed and it’s later than 10:00, that’s sort of the domino that tips all of the other ones in the coming day. Usually I see that show up in my energy and productivity the next day. If I get to bed around that 9:00/9:30 window, which is what I like the best, then I feel like I’m set up for success.

Another thing is in my morning routine… I have a much more abbreviated morning routine than you do. It consists mostly of devotional time, coffee, chatting with Joel, that kind of thing. If I have that time, review my calendar, plan my day, again, I’m set up for a good day. I also find that I make really good decisions early in the morning. In our workflow as a company, I will often have a list of decisions from my direct reports that they need from me that I tend to be the bottleneck on if I don’t respond to those quickly, and I like to make those in the morning.

Michael: How early?

Megan: Probably like 6:00, 6:30.

Michael: Yeah, I see you on Slack that early.

Megan: I’ll kind of finish up my morning routine, whatever time, if I get up at 5:30 or 6:00, and then I’ll go into some decision making before my kids get up. I really like that, because it enables me to not hold people back in our company who need to get going with their days and are probably waiting on me.

That ends up actually mapping to what Daniel Pink says in his book, which is that the best analytical work, when you need to take in a lot of data and make decisions, happens in the morning for most people, or in that morning period, whatever time that is for you based on your chronotype. I’ve found that to be really true. I do think my best creative time is in the afternoon. Not immediately after lunch, but probably like 1:00 to maybe 3:00.

Michael: I can’t always do this, but I try to schedule things based on my chronotype. I was doing this even before I read the book just because I’m old enough to know what my cycle is. For me, I’m a lark, so I’m up first thing in the morning. I’m up at 5:00 a.m., and my most productive time is going to be between… My peak time is going to be 5:00 a.m. to about noon.

Then typically I’ll eat lunch, and as you know, I always, always, always take a nap. If I don’t take a nap (this is my natural trough time), it’s really hard for me to get to the recovery. It prolongs that trough. Otherwise, I can rebound pretty quickly if I take a nap, and then I can do what he refers to as that creative work, the kind of work where you’re less able to hold off distractions, but actually the distractions can help you be more creative. I can do that in the late afternoon.

Yesterday is a good example. I pushed hard to finish this project for our team training, as I mentioned earlier, and then I was spent. I was pretty much done for the rest of the day, so I just kind of puttered around, answered some email, did some things that didn’t take a lot of energy, kind of administrative work, which he recommends in the trough. Then I had a recovery late in the afternoon and was preparing for the podcast and doing some of that kind of work.

Megan: The nap thing is something I’m really interested in. In fact, today we’re recording a bunch of podcasts, and I’m going to try it, because I think one of those things you need is a reboot. If you’re not going to take a break and observe that natural rhythm (which we’re not today; we’re going to be doing intensive work all day long), you need some way to reboot, because otherwise you just bottom out.

Michael: I want to give you some advice.

Megan: Okay, good. I feel like you have a PhD in napping.

Michael: I do. That should be a thing. Here’s my advice. People say, “Well, I can’t get to sleep that fast. It takes me 20 minutes to get to sleep.” Or people say, “I can’t sleep that short.” Here’s the thing. You get better with practice. If all you do is shut your eyes and just be quiet for 20 minutes, it’ll still have a rejuvenating effect on you.

After a while, though, just like with meditation, as you learn with more practice you’re able to steal your mind… Same thing here. With more practice you’ll fall asleep. I literally can fall asleep in less than 60 seconds, and I always wake up between 15 and 20 minutes. Occasionally 25 minutes, but never longer than that. You just have to practice it. So that would be my advice on naps.

Megan: Another thing I just thought of is the role of exercise, not just in energy management but then creativity as a part of productivity. I think you and I have both experienced this. I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery and then an injury before that for a while, so I’ve kind of been out of my exercise routine. That’s one of my goals: to get back on that this week. I’m excited, because I’ve missed that time of creativity. I have had so many ideas… In fact, I can almost clock it. About 20 minutes in, I call you with some kind of idea I’ve had while I’m out walking.

Michael: Sometimes I take the call.

Megan: Usually you do. Sometimes you’re at the gym and we’re both exercising at the same time. But that’s a great way to maximize that too.

Michael: Here’s the thing I want to say to our listeners. It’s worth thinking about your chronotype and not feeling guilty because those morning people at work make you feel guilty (and I’ve been guilty of making other people feel guilty). We don’t want that, but ask yourself how you can be more productive by being in touch with the natural rhythms you gravitate toward anyway. If you’re a morning person, great, but if you’re an evening person, embrace it. You have a sister who’s a night owl, and she’s very productive.

Megan: All right. Today we’ve talked about the time-energy paradox and discovered that you can make the greatest productivity gains by managing your energy rather than just your time. As we come in for a landing, I just want to remind you that you have the power to increase and manage your most valuable asset: your energy. Dad, do you have any final thoughts for today?

Michael: I think energy is one of those things that’s caused, not simply passively experienced. You can cause a greater sense of energy. Part of it’s through strategic management of rest and food and the things we’ve been talking about, but a lot of it is also just deciding you have more energy. The mental game is something we didn’t talk a lot about, but it’s a really important aspect. If you walk around saying to yourself all the time, “I’m so tired, I’m so exhausted,” guess what? You’re going to be tired and exhausted. So be very careful about your self-talk. That’s a component we didn’t discuss that’s very important.

Megan: Totally agree. As we close, I want to thank our sponsor LeaderBox. It provides automated personal development in a box. Check it out at If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, you can get the show notes and a full transcript online at

Michael: Thanks again for joining us on Lead to Win. If you like the show, please tell your friends and colleagues about it, and also please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

Megan: This program is copyrighted by Michael Hyatt & Company. All rights reserved. Our producer is Nick Jaworski.

Michael: Our writers are Joel Miller, Lawrence Wilson, Mandi Rivieccio, and Jeremy Lott.

Megan: Our recording engineer is Mike Burns.

Michael: Our production assistant is Aleshia Curry.

Megan: Our intern is Winston.

Michael: We invite you guys to join us for our next episode, where we’ll be discussing the productivity investments that pay for themselves. Until then, lead to win.