Career
Jul 8, 2022

Manage your energy, not your time

You know that situation when you book a time in your calendar for something, but when the moment comes, you don't feel like it, you can't be creative, and it goes so slowly? And then there are days when you’re looking forward to it and it just happens. 

Can you imagine if, instead of counting the hours it takes you to do a certain thing, you thought about when you will be most in tune and productive? And you could boost your productivity at the same time? 

It might sound like science fiction, and it might not apply to everything you do, but if you start applying it to some tasks, you'll see that there's probably something to it. 

Based on my own observations, but also recommendations from a few mentors, I'd like to share with you how to do it. 

Know yourself

The foundation of everything is knowing yourself and being able to recognize what your body is telling you. In the beginning, it may not be easy to describe why you have the emotions you have. But through conscious observation, or by taking brief notes every day, you can gradually reveal what your body is telling you and why you feel the way you do. 

Try to sit down for 5-10 minutes each evening over the course of a week and reflect on your day. How did you feel during each activity? If you experienced any emotions, what were the triggers? Why did you react that way? 

What is your resilience threshold?

Resilience is a word that is gradually becoming more recognized - especially after the covid era. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health of the USA says that ,,The economic costs of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes and respiratory ailments put together." And that's why it's important to take care of your mental health regularly. And knowing your resilience will help you do just that. 

Resilience is our capacity to cope with the changes and challenging situations we encounter. It is the ability to bounce back from an uncomfortable situation and return to a state where we feel at ease. You can gradually improve your resilience by working through challenging situations, but beware, you need to balance each challenging situation with something that in turn recharges your batteries. If you deplete your resilience, you could burn out. 

Do you know the answers to the following questions? 

  • What replenishes your energy? What gets you into a flow state? And can you create the conditions to get into it more often?
  • What only takes away your energy? 
  • What takes your energy, but makes you feel stronger when you overcome it? 

Find balance between activities

Did you know the answers to the previous questions? Then you're on the right track. Now all you have to do is learn to balance the activities that recharge or drain your energy. For example, if you know that presenting at work is not easy for you, but you feel that it is something that moves you forward, then keep doing it. But don't just give three presentations in a row. Instead, after the first presentation, plan something that will recharge your batteries again. For me it's sports, for example, and lately yoga has been helping me a lot, or it could be lunch with colleagues.

Look at your calendar and review if you have at least one activity in it every day that recharges your energy. But don't forget that you should also have activities that may hurt a little, but move you forward and increase your resilience threshold. 

The power of less but better

You know yourself, you know how to balance your activities, but sometimes you can simply find yourself in a situation where you have a lot to do and not enough time. But maybe that’s just because you've said YES to a lot of things? Saying YES to one thing means you also said NO to a lot of other things. We live in a time that is full of opportunities and we are afraid of missing out. Yes, we always miss something, we are not able to be there for everything. Learn to say no. And you'll see that more than once you'll have more energy and time for the things that really fulfill you. 

Try saying no to the first thing someone asks you today that you're not 100% sure about. From my own experience, nothing will happen, and the other person probably won’t even try to convince you. You definitely won't let anyone down, and on the contrary, you will be happy for yourself. And watch out, it gets addictive over time.

You’ve now gone through short exercises to help you find balance and sustainably manage all the activities that are thrown at you. How did you do? If you are interested in anything further, feel free to contact me

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