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Academia & Education Community

How to manage our energy and time

Author: Jennifer Rose FCA BFP PGCert SFHea CMBE, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, and Marie Dutordoir, Professor of Finance (Chair), Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Published: 06 Mar 2023

Jenni and Marie discuss the feedback from the recent webinar.

How we manage our time in these busy days is more important than ever before. Technological enhancements have freed up our time from repetitive housework chores, slow communication and going to shops, but what do we do with that “extra” time? It is hoped we would flourish and satisfy our eternal human desire for connection, but all too often we spend it procrastinating, feeling disconnected and glued to one screen or another. Our impatience has increased and we expect almost instantaneous answers and quick-fix solutions to everything. We know burnout is increasingly common and so we add self-care tasks to our never-ending to-do lists, putting further pressure on ourselves in an unrealistic pursuit of 24/7 happiness.

We spent some time exploring some of these issues in our recent webinar ‘How to manage our energy and time’ for the Academia & Education Community. It was interesting to observe that participants reported a broad spread of time management problems they were struggling with. More particularly, they were facing difficulties with procrastination, not being able to say no, feeling too exhausted to work well and not having time for their priorities, amongst other issues.

We focused our workshop around five key insights for helping you manage your time and energy:

  1. You will never have enough time for everything you would like to do – there’s just too much! Consider what is important for you and, crucially, what is possible.
  2. The principles of good time management are not entirely dissimilar to what we teach our students on optimal investment decisions in corporate finance! Focus on activities that yield the highest incremental value for you, avoid being biased by sunk costs and don’t forget to account for opportunity costs.
  3. Block out time for specific and small tasks on projects which are important to you. Two-hour blocks are ideal, but don’t wait for perfect conditions to start. Even just 10 minutes a day on a task adds up to 50 minutes a week, around 4 hours a month…
  4. Go easy on yourself – we are not robot productivity machines; we shouldn’t need to get up at 5am and work without breaks. Think carefully about the kind of person you want to be and remember that every action (or inaction) is a vote for that person. Want to help others and respond to emails quickly? Do that. Want to spend more time with others face to face? Focus on that instead.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, we need to watch out for each other and for signs of time management burn out. As Emily and Amelia Nagoski discuss in their book ‘Burnout’ – “The cure of burnout is not self care, it is all of us caring for one another”.

We explored these five ideas during our workshop, but one hour was definitely not long enough to discuss it all! We hope that our workshop is just the start of a more in-depth discussion on how we manage our time and energy in a way that enhances our overall wellbeing. From feedback we received from the workshop participants, there is a strong demand for such discussion among ICAEW members. We look forward to embarking on such discussion. Feel free to email Jenni or Marie to hear more about our time and energy management presentations and workshops.

Jenni and Marie



*The views expressed are the author’s and not ICAEW’s.