A few weeks ago I started a series of posts I’m calling Recover You. The series is focused on practices and habits that I believe lead to a healthier mind, body and spirit, a healthier business and ultimately a healthier economy.

You can catch the entire Recover You series here.

energy managementBusiness owners lack time more than anything else. And so, they concoct all manner of routine to try to help them manage this most precious resource.

But time can’t really be managed. We can’t make more, we can’t move it, we can’t even restructure it – all we can do is monitor how much we get done as we move through it.

Managing our energy is a more profitable pursuit than wrestling with time. We can manufacture energy, we can channel energy and we can use a variety of tools to remain conscious about the various types of energy we need to draw upon daily to get more done with the time we’re allotted.

Human energy is a fascinating concept.

As any business owner has likely learned it takes plenty of physical energy, or stamina perhaps, to run a business day in and day out. You likely work more hours than most, build up and hold a tremendous amount of stress and never fully come off the stage and out of the performance lights.

So while most acknowledge the drain of physical energy, few truly consider the emotional energy consumption that occurs as well. On top of the energy to get up do the work, running a business involves the need for energy that drives things like creativity, intention, purpose, love, intuition, and innovation.

When we neglect these forms of energy we lose touch with why we do what we do and business becomes a grind. I believe that owning a business is the greatest opportunity for peace, joy and happiness that exists in life, but it’s also the quickest way to have the life and energy sucked right out of you if you let it.

Over the years I’ve developed a few habits or rituals that I adhere to daily in my efforts to manage the energy I need to run my business. I certainly didn’t write this post to convince people to partake in any particular practice as much as to help people start to become more consciously aware of how important this idea of energy is in any pursuit.

Whenever it feels like I’m getting a little stuck in business it almost always because I’ve grown a little sloppy in the area of energy management.

These are my energy tools and hacks.


I spend about 20 minutes in a very simple breathing form of meditation first thing. This really wakes me up, allows me to get centered for a bit and focus on my intentions for the day and beyond.


I’ve fallen into a 15-minute series of poses that focuses on stretching and involving the organs and glands and just makes me ready to take on the day.


I do some form of exercise, running, biking or strengthening, at least five times a week. I may spend as much as an hour or more in each session, but I always, always get this time back in terms of energy and productivity.

Planned interruption

Throughout my day I set a timer and never go over about 45 minutes without getting up and doing something. I keep a few kettle balls in the office and take quick movement refreshers throughout the day. We also have a couple puppies that hang out at the office and taking them out for a lap around the garden is always a great thing to do.


I’ve learned that I seem to be most productive in terms of creative type work in two very distinct windows of time each day. I suppose there are valid physiological reasons for this, but I plan my days accordingly and use those windows like a maniac.


I’m terrible at doing this habitually, but a 15-minute nap in the middle of the day is such an incredible thing to do. There’s an amazing amount of research that suggests the many benefits of this practice, but for me it’s such a great way to release the physical stress that builds up unconsciously during the day.


Honestly, I’ve never adopted a very good way to end the day. Perhaps you’ve got some ideas you could suggest as a way to wrap up, access or simply acknowledge and be grateful for another awesome block of time.

In fact, please share what works for you in this category in general, I’m always interesting learning about what works.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Hi John. This is hot button topic #1 in 2013, in my opinion. I’m seeing the concepts of renewal and recreation starting to (re)gain importance everywhere. As an entrepreneur in Southwest Michigan, I can tell you that my morning routine is the most critical, habitual part of my day. When I am intentional in adhering to the routine, I find distinctly better results come from the day. The way I like to think of it is, instead of the day grabbing me and dragging me through itself, I ride out and meet it, ready and able to respond to the needs of my team, the market, and my goals.

    • Love that ride out and meet it notion David.

    • I love that picture of riding out to meet the day — really compelling!

  • Dave Crenshaw

    I seem to be most productive and hyped up in the morning. So I do most
    of my coaching calls in the morning. Awesome post, John. Thanks!

  • Great comments John. Also being a business owner, I find – as you and David below mentioned – that a routine in the morning allows me to control the day vs. the alternative. Always enjoy your columns. – Shawn

  • Managing energy is important for any business owner who wants to be productive and make the most of his or her time in the office.

  • If looking for source of more energy in the evening, could always find a place with live music in the area. Otherwise maybe it’s more of a time to generally unwind, get refreshed for the day ahead.

    • Yes I was leaning towards the latter. Mainly though I think there are some ways to wrap up the day that include appreciation more than anything else.

  • I would love to know a great way to end the day as well. Fortunately, in some ways, I have a 20 minute commute home after work. While there is no shortage of information that I could plug in my ears, I have determined that the commute time is an investment into the evening with my family.

    I may have 2-3 hours with the kids before they go to bed, and if I stay on work calls, rush in the door, pop open the laptop, then I have cut that time in half (at a minimum). If, on the other hand, I give myself that quiet, unfocused time, it is like the quiet before falling asleep. My brain starts to put periods on some of the dangling issues from the day.

    Then, when I get home, I can be fully present.

    • I love to use car time this way as well. It does take some practice to turn the business motor off and not walk in the door with it.

  • It’s great to see how you have created a healthy balance by planning how to use your energy. I have the answer to switching off at night, so that you get a restorative night’s sleep, and wake up refreshed, and ready to be creative.

    I use ZPoint, which relaxes you deeply with the benefits of meditation, and you clear all your stress from the day, so that it doesn’t build up, and carry over to the next day. I have a short and simple Kindle guide, which includes a full session to download, for under $5 – a great investment for your increased productivity!


    • Thanks Linda I’ll take a look.

  • I wish I had a good suggestion for ending the day other than “end it.” Working from home I find it easy to let my workday morph over into evening hours. I suspect that’s true of many knowledge workers.

    In order to maintain a healthy work/family balance, I force myself to stop by no later than 6 p.m. I know the work will be there tomorrow for me to pick up. But for me to be at my best during work hours, I need to ensure my home life is in good order as well.

    Great post John. Thanks for the suggestions. I found them to be very helpful.

    • Hey Paul – long ago I made a policy no evening interviews, Twitter chats, webinars, etc. I still do some writing at night, but that’s therapeutic 🙂

  • My evening energy tips:

    I need to take a few minutes to think about the next day and literally write down anything I need to do — in a way removing it from my brain and setting it down so that I can not concern myself with it until the next day. Kind of like checking it at the bedroom door.

    My husband and I also like to stop anything we’re doing an hour before we crawl in bed and use the time to wind down. We basically do a normal night hygiene regimen (wash faces, brush teeth, put on pajamas), but we make sure we take our time to make it feel more like we’re pampering ourselves. The slowness helps my husband disconnect from work and re-set his ever-running mind.

    We also like to sit and read together for a while in the evenings. It helps us to reconnect and engage with our most important friend after our focus has been on so many other things all day.

    • Not sure if it’s as conscious as what you’ve described but my wife and I have sort of fallen into a similar routine, particularly once the kids all moved out!

  • At the end of the day, I meditate (I also have a morning practice) and I write down 10 things I did well that day and 10 things I am grateful for in my planner. Sometimes, if I am still feeling wound-up, I journal to clear my thoughts.

    • Ooh, love that Mandy – writing with pen and paper still has a very calming effect on me.

  • These are awesome — I want to incorporate all your energy tools into my every day life! As for the evening time, I would love to spend a little time each evening cleaning my house before relaxing and going to sleep.

    • hmm that doesn’t sound very fun 🙂

  • i like to watch an epsiode of a tv comedy – it makes me laugh – humour is a great way to finish the day and take your mind off business. I download the program previously so i don’t have to watch normal tv otherwise that would have the opposite effect.

    I am 20kgs overweight, work 7 days running 2 businesses and am always tired. In 2012 I delegated everything to relieve stress and it cost me money in staff and some poor decisions were made. Now im taking it back and getting myself fit so I can do the important tasks myself.

    Great Series – Very very useful

  • Sheetal Sharma

    Energy is needed to run as well as manage a business – a pointer most of the workforce is overlooking these days. In ever increasing competition among corp orates, the pressure to perform is rising day by day and channelizing energy is now taught even in B schools, i am happy to work with Kulwinder Singh who is on a constant mentor ship to help his team utilize their energy for productive tasks.