top of page

7 Critical Ways Leaders Must Balance Their Energy and Time

Updated: Jan 24

How Leaders Balance Energy and Time

This past week was jam-packed with strategy sessions, retreat facilitation, coaching, networking, and leadership meetings. I can't recall how long it has been since I had a week with that level of professional intensity.

It is important to note that the reason I can't recall is because I have consciously stopped operating like that. There was a time when every week was overwhelming, and it damaged my physical well-being. Presently I can handle a week here and there which tests the limits of my endurance, but I know I need to balance my time and my energy intentionally to be the leader in my business, as well as for my clients and organizations who rely on me.


Leadership, especially self-leadership, demands we invest both our time and energy. How we do so makes all the difference. When we practice careful allocation of resources for strategic thinking, personal development, and prioritizing important tasks over the urgency of firefighting we achieve more, with greater ease.


Leadership requires intentional balance. If you find yourself exhausted, overwhelmed, burnt out, procrastinating, or yearning for an escape, it's a clear sign that your time and energy are out of balance. Fostering a sustainable equilibrium is not just a luxury but a necessity.

Here's 7 key ways to maintain your energy and your time in balance for optimal effectiveness and impact.


1. Strategic Thinking and Personal Development:

Balancing Act: Leadership requires a clear vision and continuous growth. Without dedicated time for strategic thinking and personal development, you risk stagnation or finding yourself racing in circles, chasing any idea you feel might hold promise. Balancing your schedule to allow for reflection and learning ensures you're equipped to navigate whatever comes your way.


Neglecting time for strategy and reflection rapidly leads to overwhelm as reactive decisions replace thoughtful strategies, leaving the leader and the team feeling unclear and stressed.


2. Prioritizing Important Tasks for More Energy and Time:

Balancing Act: True leadership involves focusing on the important rather than succumbing to the urgent. If your days are consistently spent putting out fires, it's time to reassess. Balancing your time means saying 'no' more than you say 'yes' to others' agendas, allowing you to allocate energy where it truly matters—moving you towards your goals.


Failing to do so may result in a perpetual state of crisis management, leaving the leader exhausted and the team disheartened due to a lack of focus on meaningful, impactful work. This can become a vicious cycle if the leader chases fires to the point of exhaustion, and then escapes to rest or “get the important things done” without addressing the ongoing deluge of crises.


3. Effective Communication and Collaboration:

Balancing Act: Leadership thrives on communication and collaboration. Without intentional time for effective interaction, your ability to inspire or be inspired, guide or be guided, as well as identify fresh solutions flounders. Making time for others and investing energy in your network is how a leadership brand grows.


Neglecting this can create a siloed environment, causing misunderstandings, fostering a need to compare our efforts to competitors and peers we only know through social media and superficial contact, leading to a negative—even occasionally paranoid—outlook that gives preference to what is wrong, rather than to the creative energy of growth in community.


4. Resource Management:

Balancing Act: Leaders are resource stewards. Balancing your time allows you to manage resources effectively, including time and energy, which prevents exhaustion and burnout. A leader who is perpetually exhausted risks making poor decisions and overlooking crucial details.


When we are under-resourced, whether that is funding, staffing, tools, skills, time or energy, we will be perpetually overwhelmed until we crash. Too many businesses launch their endeavors under-resourced, and treat their own precious time and energy as if it were a self-renewing resource – which it is not.


5. Doing the Work You Are Best Suited For:

Balancing Act: Look, I don't care whether you can do it. I care whether you ought to do it for your own ability to meet your goals! Leadership involves delegating tasks to focus on what you do best. If you're buried in tasks that others could handle, it's time to rebalance. Allocate time for the work that truly leverages your skills and expertise. If you find yourself in that all-too-common catch-22 of not having the resources to delegate to, then you must reassess your approach, redefine what gets done first, alter your pricing structure, or find a partnership arrangement to alleviate the situation.


Ignoring this imbalance leads to micromanagement, missed deadlines, procrastination, unmet commitments, underperformance and slows growth.


6. Resetting and Recharging:

Balancing Act: Leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are too busy or stressed to take a couple of days off, you need to take a couple of weeks off. Seriously. Regularly taking time to reset and recharge is not a luxury; it's a necessity.


Neglecting this may lead to constant fatigue, eroding creativity, affecting critical decision-making. An overworked leader is prone to exhaustion, burnout, and diminished effectiveness—not to mention illness, and a reduced ability to thrive.


7. Nurturing Relationships and Creative Pursuits:

Balancing Act: It is the best kept secret we all suspect, or already know: meaningful relationships and creative outlets are often casualties of poor time and energy management. Yet, they are vital for a sense of real success and fulfillment. Balancing your time ensures you invest in relationships that matter and nurture your creative drivers.


Neglecting to give your time and energy to relational and creative pursuits may result in a feeling of disconnection, a lack of enthusiasm, as well as experiencing a heightened monotony of tasks, a diminished sense of purpose.


How do I know all this? I’ve been down the road of putting my to-do list before everything else. I subscribed to the cult of busy, and treated my own well-being as secondary to my achievements. Now I help other leaders who are struggling to disentangle themselves from this web of overwhelm and fear of not achieving  fast enough. Together we find a path to balancing their time and energy in a way that works beautifully and beneficially for them and their business.

bottom of page