Episode 43 – Managing Your Energy Instead Of Your Time To Get More Done Or Why I Don’t Believe In Time Management
Have you ever imagined how freeing it would be to work for yourself or work from home or are you enjoying doing that right now?
While it’s true that not having someone else looking over your shoulder at work can be a huge relief, running your own business is a lot of hard work.
You need dedication, responsibility, and incredible self-management skills. And working from home presents its own set of challenges, like not surfing YouTube or deciding to go shopping when you’re feeling stuck. Although it’s totally okay to do this sometimes, just not all the time!
I think the biggest productivity booster in my business life didn’t come from a planner or a calendar though, but rather from finding ways to manage my energy.
Balancing your energy (crystals optional)
I realize it may sound a little New Age to talk about balancing your energy to be more productive, but it’s been an essential part of my productivity and business strategy.
For me, feeling productive is less about time management and more about energy management. Most of us already know when we have time to work. There is some level of control around when we can dedicate time to our businesses, but the question is what to do at that time?
In my experience with my own business and through coaching others, I know that starting and running a business can be tough, and you can’t just keep at it all the time.
Some tasks will drain your energy much more than others – launching your website, speaking about your business, being on video, sales conversations, anything, where you are breaking new barriers, will require more of your energy than just answering email or posting on Instagram.
The first time I stood up and spoke about my business, and it was only briefly, a very wise lady told me to rest the next day because I had expended a lot of energy and she was right. When I first did sales conversations, I wouldn’t do any other client calls on those days. Even now, certain activities take it out of me more than others.
That sounds a little woo woo but it really is true. We are not machines. Some parts of business drain your energy. Which parts those are will differ from person to person. Some people love to blog, while other people find it incredibly draining. Some people get energized working with clients in a group setting, while for others that would be quite taxing.
I find managing my ENERGY to be much more important than managing my time. We can only take on so much in a day, we only have so much bandwidth, so don’t beat yourself up about not being able to keep at it.
Some practical ways to manage your energy
Managing your energy is about being aware of and open to understanding when your energy is high and when it’s low – and then tailoring your days and weeks and activities around that knowledge. It’s also about checking in with yourself regularly and asking “Of all the things I have to do what makes sense for right now?”
Here are some practical ways you can use to manage your energy:
- Eat the frog. I’ve never liked this term. It means, do the hard things first. For a lot of people, and this doesn’t include me by the way, addressing unpleasant or uncomfortable tasks first will help them have better energy throughout the rest of their day or week. If this is you then try this approach and see how it goes for you.
- Listen to your needs. Sounds obvious but common sense is not always common practice! There may be days when you need a nap, or watch an episode of your favourite Netflix show, or go for a walk in the park. Listen to and honour that need! If I need to rest, I rest. This happens more than I would like sometimes but that’s okay.
- Pay attention to and work with your natural ebb and flow. I try and manage my tasks when I have the right energy for them. For example, I work best in the mornings and early afternoons. I find I can do tasks that require more concentration once I’ve been at my desk an hour so I don’t eat the frog, I give myself something easier to do first to warm up. If things need to get done and some are easier than others, I’ll check in with myself and see which of them I can handle right now. If you’re a morning person, you might schedule intense tasks like sales calls, content creation, or similar for the morning hours, and handle answering email later in the day.
- Change your perspective to change your energy. I also move rooms, work with my laptop on the sofa, in bed at times, just so I can feel like there is a change of scene and change of energy. Plus, if I have an outdoor task to do (going to the post office or something) I use that to break up the day so I come back fresh.
Essentially what this is about is not beating yourself up for being a human being, not expecting yourself to be like a machine and paying attention to, and then working with your natural energy ebb and flow within the periods of time that you work on your business.