Years ago when I worked in banking the leadership of the bank I worked for hired a management consultant. She sat in our meetings and met with all of the managers one on one to provide advice to both the managers about their career and role in the bank and to the leadership about how well each manager fit in their role. When I met with her she shared two pieces of advice that have stuck with me, one of which I will share now.

Her advice was about energy. She said that we only have a few limited resources as a person and that energy was the most important. If you have time but you don’t have energy, like when you are sick, then that time is useless.

Since energy is a limited and valuable resource, she emphasized that you have to manage your energy expenditures. You have to put yourself in situations that increase your energy and avoid ones that drain you in order to have the biggest impact you can.

The older I get, the more true this advice becomes. I used to be able to power through any situation – it felt like my energy was unlimited, but maybe I just ignored the signs that I was drained. Now I feel it.

So what do I do with this advice? I avoid things that drain my energy as much as I can – for me this means avoiding long meetings, traffic, and interruptions. And I do the hard things early in the morning when I have the most energy.