I’ve spent hours searching and looking for possible causes, I’ve had the tests and followed the advice. I’ve read lots of stuff, some of it useful. Some of it has really helped (I’ll share some of that in future posts) but still the problem continued.
I see those people who seem to have boundless, uber levels of energy and those people who seem to fit a million things into a day. I’ve felt envious and wondered – what’s wrong with me?
We all have 7 days in a week and 24hrs in a day.
Is the answer to manage my time better, just try to get more done and keep on going?
I saw the title of a post ‘Manage Your Energy Not Your Time’ – I was intrigued.
Schwartz and McCarthy identify four main energy wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed.
This triggered me to reflect on my different energy levels in the different areas. I acknowledged the things that drain my energy levels and identified simple ways to renew them.
I’m also including an additional energy wellspring for myself – social energy. For me, this is about the energy I have or don’t have, to connect with others.
In the article Schwartz and McCarthy also explain about our bodies rhythms –
“Ultradian rhythms refer to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies slowly move from a high-energy state into a physiological trough. Toward the end of each cycle, the body begins to crave a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working. The consequence is that our energy reservoir—our remaining capacity—burns down as the day wears on.” (Scwartz and McCarthy, 2007)
Our energy is not boundless. It peaks and troughs on an on-going basis. I just never realised it could happen at such frequent intervals. So maybe it’s about learning to work with my own natural energy rhythms. Using the energy I have when my levels are high and recognising the importance of replenishing it.
There are all the obvious things we know suck the life out of us – not getting enough sleep, drinking alcohol, eating junk food and sitting around not doing much etc – do less of it. Then there is the stuff that refuels us – a balanced healthy diet, regular exercise, time outdoors etc – do more of it. It all seems so simple when you write it down. But maybe it’s about finding a way to do those things that fits in with your energy rhythms.
We are not all made the same.
So to answer my own question – no, it’s not necessarily about managing my time better, just trying to get more done and keeping on going.
All the time management in the world won’t stop me feeling exhausted. In fact, trying to get more done and keeping going is probably the wrong thing to do. Just like time management cannot give people more hours in the day, it will not give me more energy. However, learning to look after my different energy wellsprings and managing my energy levels could, in time, give me more energy.
Here’s the energy management advice I am giving to myself –
- Accept who I am – my energy will peak and trough, go with it.
- Cut back on comparing myself to others – just because some people are uber energetic does not mean it’s right for you. We are not all made the same.
- Cut back on giving myself a hard time – it’s like I’m constantly hitting myself in the face and that’s just silly. It’s better to put my energy into managing my energy!
- Take care of myself – I am actually worth it and it might actually help.
- Work with what you’ve got – learn to function within my own peaks and troughs.
- Focus on what’s right for me – find the ways that renew and replenish my different energy wells.
- Take the pressure off – there is enough external pressure out there without me adding more of my own on top.
- Listen to myself – monitor and evaluate my different energy levels.
- Respond and be flexible – be aware of changes in energy levels, change tack to match where my energy is at.
- Be honest with yourself and others – if you need a short break or you need to approach something in a different way, just do it.
- Plan for depleted energy levels – I know certain things will deplete me so plan things that allow for replenishing and renewal.
It’s early days but I have to say that there are some signs of improvement in how I am feeling. Here’s to ongoing progress.
Other blog posts on Energy Management –
Over to you –
What do you think about energy management? Do you think it’s a useful way to approach daily life? How do you approach managing your different energy levels?