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If I Only Knew Then: J. Maya Iwata

By Will Schneider
Future Leaders in Philanthropy

The secret to time management is managing energy

The secret to time management is managing energy

Although I have been described as an "energizer bunny" or the "girl with the most chi," working in hectic, high pressure environments has taught me that sustainability is key.  Sustainability requires managing both time and energy, and doing more of what one likes to do everyday.  Managing energy means focusing one's life on what's most important to you (personally and professionally), and regularly reinforcing that focus with regular action (preferably every day or at least several times a week).

In a fast-paced place like New York City, it is important to know when to sprint and when to slow down and rest.  Running long distance at the speed of a sprinter is not sustainable without serious consequences for your health and your life. 

Here are some suggestions on how to stay focused on managing energy:

  • Be clear and specific about what is most important to you in the long run and what success (outcomes) would look like.  For instance, if good health is important to you - What would your bedtime, dietary, and exercise patterns looks like?  If you are not sure how to figure out what?s most important for you, the book The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz is a good resource for tips and worksheets.
  • Develop patterns, or habits, that reinforce an alignment between your actions and what is most important to you.  Creating patterns for yourself will help you to sustain your efforts and manage energy. These habits should be enjoyable; otherwise it is likely that you will stop or resent them.  Life is relatively short, so why sign up for suffering voluntarily?
  • Take 5 minutes out of every day (and make sure it's every day!) to plan how you will act on what?s important to you.  Follow through on these values each week.  Stop postponing joy!  For example, if you would like to be a writer, then make time to write now.  Don't wait until you retire!
  • Take 5 minutes before beginning your work day to schedule your most important projects during the time you are most productive.  By doing this, you can focus on what is really important to get done, instead of just attending to what is urgent.
  • Create a structured team of support to help you keep on track. These are your cheerleaders, whom you can trust to tell you when your actions are not aligned with your goals.

Take action now so your time is well spent.  Jot down two patterns to align your values with your actions and schedule them into your life today. 

J. Maya Iwata, LMSW is the Executive Director of Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment, Inc. (SMART).  She has been working for more than 15 years in clinical and administrative positions at community based organizations in the areas of health and mental health.

The Future Leaders in Philanthropy (FLiP) site is a special project of The site was founded with two main goals. First, to seek out and encourage college students to enter into a career in the philanthropic sector, and also to provide education, guidance, and networking for young professionals who are new to the sector. The community of readers includes students and young professionals at non-profit organizations, corporate foundations, universities, and for-profit companies.

© 2008 Changing Our World, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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