Manage Your Energy Not Your Time

 
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In today's audio postcard I'm talking about why managing your time better is not actually the real problem. 

Today's question: What’s one thing you can do each day to recharge your batteries and manage your personal energy?

Leave a comment and share your ideas!


Rather read than listen?

When you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and maybe even a bit burned out – OK, a lot burned out – it usually feels like you just don’t have enough time.

And what do you do when you feel like you don’t have enough time? Desperately try to figure out how to make the most of it, right? And if you’re anything like I was, you’re also probably beating yourself up about not being more efficient and wondering why the hell you can’t squeeze more into your day. After all, it feels like everyone else is getting so much more done. But you feel like you’re running through quicksand just trying to keep up. You’re doing everything you can and yet it never feels good enough.

First, I’m here to ask you to stop beating yourself up. All that does is make you feel shittier about an already frustrating situation. So first, let’s remove that added layer of stress.

Next, I want to ask you to start thinking about things a bit differently. Managing your time is great but at a certain point, there’s only so much you can do. You can be a time management superstar but there are a finite number of hours in the day. And you are but one human being.

I’d like you to consider managing your energy instead. Because I have a feeling that while you’ve been so preoccupied with managing your time better, your energy levels are being neglected. And when you’re not maintaining your personal energy levels – they fall right through the floor!

Which is exactly how you end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed and more than a little burned out. What I’ve learned over the years from personal experience and research is that your energy is where it’s at! Because, just like your cell phone, you can’t operate when your battery is drained. And I know that you keep on top of your phone battery levels. So instead of focusing on your time, I’m asking you to keep on top of your personal energy levels.

I’m guessing that right about now you’re wondering, “How the heck do am I supposed to do that?” The answer to keeping your personal energy recharged is pretty simple – make time for rest and renewal.

I know, I know. You don’t have time for that. But that’s not really true, it’s just something you believe – and I believed it too. Unfortunately, that’s because we are brought up to believe that rest is for the weak – that we can’t afford to be lazy. That spending time “doing nothing” is for slackers.

But what I’m here to say is that you can’t afford NOT to recharge. Because that is where burnout and overwhelm come from – its where they thrive! And I’m not in the business of helping your burnout to grow and thrive – and I’m pretty sure you aren’t either.

The first step is to get your mind right about rest and renewal and stop believing the lies that it’s lazy or indulgent or selfish. That’s total nonsense.

Next, it’s time to focus on managing your personal energy. And I like to split it into two categories – rest and energize. The rest category is pretty self-explanatory – these are the things you do that promote rest and renewal. Think: naps, or getting more sleep. Relaxing with a good book or snuggling with your pup. Or just taking a 5-minute break from your work on a regular basis. On the energize side are activities that get you feeling excited and revitalized. For me that often is going on a hike, practicing yoga or doing something creative. For you, it probably looks different.

And that’s the best part about all this - you get to do what feels right for you in the moment. Now I also realize this can be the most challenging part. And I have a few ideas that I think will help you.

First, I want you to know that managing your energy doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can start by setting a side just a few minutes to work on managing your energy.

Second, it doesn’t have to be complicated. What I’ve found helpful is to take a minute or two and make a list of a few restful activities and a few energizing activities. Things that you know actually work for you. That way you have some go-to’s to choose from.

The key to managing your energy is to tap into what you really need each day. To do that, just ask yourself, “What do I need?” A deceptively simple question, I know. But one we seldom actually ask ourselves. And then take a few minutes for a restful or energizing activity.

It really can be that simple and it’s also fun. And I promise that if you take a few moments each day to manage your energy, you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel.