Some days I work on lots of little things and feel great because I’ve ticked lots off my list. I feel a real sense of achievement.
On other days I might do one or two things and just feel exhausted. I’d start to feel the immense pressure of having limited time to get done what I needed to do.
I then realised that I was blocking my diary out in the traditional way with things I had to get done, but I wasn’t actually considering the sheer brainpower and focus I’d need to do them.
And do you ever think about the quality and quantity of something when you’re organising your day, week and task list?
I realise that not everyone is able to organise themselves in this way but if you try to work with your energy then it really helps to balance out the week.
Sometimes I’ll have one big thing to do and it’s pretty straightforward but boring and then other times I have lots of smaller tasks that require a lot of concentration.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In the past, I’ve got this combination very wrong and ended up exhausted by 11am or frazzled by 2.45pm and ready to go to bed.
I now try to mix my week up so that I’ve organised my priority list by the energy required and my other to-do list by the length of time.
Another bonus is that it really helps me to stay motivated and keeps the momentum going at a fairly even speed over the course of the week, which is what you need when you’re dealing with a six year old and two year old.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sometimes everything has to be done at once and you have no choice but to just get on with it but given the choice, I always factor in how I’ll feel after doing a piece of work.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There’s nothing worse than writing a piece of copy and then having a client call straight afterwards or having calls back to back and then dashing off to do the nursery/school run, chuck snacks at the kids and take them to swimming lessons or cook dinner or do the whole bath and bedtime routine… plus having in the back of my mind that I’ve got about 2 hours worth of writing to do in the evening. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My tip would be to allow time in between to recover and re-energise or at least time to make a cup of tea, catch your breath and a have wee. You know, meet your basic human needs, which we so often forgo for extra time!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5 ways to manage your energy (not your time):
- Find your pace – especially when it comes to large or long projects because some people work better at a steady marathon pace and others prefer short sprints with rest in between.
- Know where to get your energy from – if you’re lacking in energy when you shouldn’t be then it’s crucial to know what you can do to recharge, and fast!
- Work out what drains you – identifying what drains your energy is a game-changer in helping you to preserve your energy (create boundaries) and use it for bigger and better things.
- Get to know your routine – if you’re not a morning person then you’ll know what does and doesn’t work for you at 8am. Apply your knowledge of your personal rhythm to your working pattern and diary, because it all impacts on your energy.
- Know your limits – recognise when you really do need to rest, because sometimes that’s more productive than powering on through!
In short, understanding and learning to manage your energy will support you and help you to work more authentically on client projects. You’ll be able to play to your strengths and unleash the energised and empowered business owner that you are. So forget all the one size fits all time management hacks, productivity apps and multitasking, because it’s hard to optimise a finite resource. Focus on your energy first.