Energy VS Time ManagementMay 11, 2023
Do you feel like the day doesn’t have enough hours to be able to finish your to-do list? Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day and still feel like you didn’t accomplish half the things you wanted? Do you find yourself having to catch up during nights and weekends?
You are not alone. It happens to the best of us.
Time is a very valuable resource but it is limited to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is nothing you can do to increase it. On the other hand, energy is an even greater resource and there are ways to increase it to maximize your productivity and overall well-being.
In summary, time is finite and out of your control. Energy is renewable and in your control. So let’s dive in!
How do you define energy?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, energy is the “strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity”. But it is so much more than that.
There are 4 elements of energy:
Physical energy is the quantity of our energy, and it shapes our sustainability and long-term productivity. Mental energy is the focus of our energy and It controls our attention and the likelihood of making mistakes.
Emotional energy is the quality of our energy and it affects how resilient we are, specially when faced with complexity. Spiritual energy is the why, it is the energy we get by serving a purpose greater than ourselves.
I recently watched an expert talk about this topic and they had an interesting quadrant with the X axis for positive vs negative energy and the Y axis for low vs high energy. This is what it looked like:
The expert mentioned that we all go through cycles in this energy quadrant. It’s impossible to be in the performance zone 100% of the time.
She talked about ultradian rhythms which are your body’s biological cycles that take place within 24 hours, and can include everything from a human heartbeat to blinking, to digestion.
Experts in the science of peak performance state that high-performance cycles last about 90 minutes. In other words, we tend to perform best when we work for around 90 minutes, then take a break for around 20 minutes.
This is what the ultradian rhythm of high performance looks like:
So the renewal zone is critical to maximizing your energy.
How do you maximize your energy?
Behavior change always starts with awareness, so the first thing you need to do is an energy audit to understand the peaks and valleys of your energy levels. You need to identify the activities that drain your energy and the ones that fuel it.
Notice what time of the day you have more energy. Identify the people that energize you and the energy vampires. Also notice which foods energize you vs make you want to take a nap.
Here are some practical ideas on how to increase and maximize the 4 elements of energy:
Personally, my energy levels are at peak during the hours of 7 am-11 am if I had a good night sleep and had my morning routine which looks like going for a run while listening to a podcast. On the days I miss my morning routine, I know I am already running on a lower energy tank.
When I feel my energy getting depleted, I start moving, I go for a walk, start dancing, or get on my yoga mat. Movement produces kinetic energy, which can be converted into power.
Having a well-balanced breakfast that includes protein and good fat also energizes me. I typically enjoy seeded bread with eggs, avocado, and flax seeds for breakfast. You want a breakfast that won’t spike your glucose levels as it is key for your physical energy.
When I feel low in emotional energy, I journal to get the thoughts out of my head. I go deep to understand what drains my emotional energy.
Sometimes it’s a recurring negative thought triggered by something someone said. And it always ends up being rooted in an unmet need, fear or limiting belief that sits deep in the subconscious.
When I feel low in mental energy, I pick up an inspiring book or podcast to get my creative juices going. Feeding your mind with positive and inspiring material is key to keeping mental energy high. Taking away the constant distractions of technology helps to increase mental energy.
How many times have you found yourself scrolling through social media almost unconsciously and then find yourself mentally drained?
Multitasking is a big mental energy drainer. You think you are getting a lot done, but your body is depleting your mental energy.
Participating in activities that give you a sense of purpose increases your spiritual energy. I am passionate about helping others, especially when it involves teaching.
My purpose is to inspire others to become a better version of themselves. I fulfill my purpose and replenish my spiritual energy in many ways. It can be through a simple one-on-one conversation with a friend or co-worker or writing this blog and coaching a group of women.
I support non-profit organizations dedicated to women empowerment such as Girls Inc and the Women’s Edge. I find great fulfillment by talking to the girls at the Girls Inc of Greater Miami after-school programs.
Sometimes we feel like we need to do something big to change the world, but all you need is to make an impact into someone’s life. Every little bit counts.
I hope this post made you think and reflect on how to maximize your energy to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life. We only live once, so make the best of it!
image credit: Mikhail Nilov
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