Wouldn’t it be great to have a resource well within your reach that can help you to meet your challenges, steer yourself out of overwhelm and intentionally create the changes you wish to make in your life?
A resource that would help you operate in a way that feels energized, naturally balanced, grounded and able to handle what life throws at you.
You do, and the way you access it is simple: You focus on what you can control. Meet your greatest renewable resource: your personal energy.
Managing your energy is one of the most powerful things that you can do to create a sustainable, solid foundation for your life and your work.
Why? No one is in charge of your energy but you.
Let me repeat that. No one is in charge of your energy but you. You decide how often to top it up, whether to drain it, what you spend it on, and how you share it.
When I talk about “personal energy,” I’m talking about five areas within your control where you can make small tweaks, consistently over time, and achieve huge results.
- Your body.
- Your mind.
- Your spirit.
- Your emotions
- Your commitments
Cultivating and managing personal energy has become a core part of how I live, work and coach for the simple reason that anyone can do it, and it works. It’s also a bit addictive because once you start reaping the results of taking responsibility for your personal energy, you start seeing ways to do it more and more.
It takes practice to come off autopilot and trace back your energy back to daily choices and habits. All you need is awareness and a few minutes a day.
How you do it is a highly individual process. But to get you started, here are a few ideas for energy management practices to experiment with:
Notice your energy. What’s energizing you and what’s draining you? How does your body feel? What’s on your mind? Take a daily inventory to gather the data you need to make realistic schedules and adjustments. Get to know how you run, and when to boost energy and when to honor it.
Build a physical foundation. That means, yes, getting good sleep, exercising several times a week, eating whole foods, getting regular healthcare. (I am a big fan of massage – I’ve been getting one every month for the last 10 years.) Not only does taking care of your body help you to manage stress, it helps your whole body function more optimally. This doesn’t need to be an overhaul of your routine. A healthier breakfast or 20 minutes of daily movement can pay off quickly.
Protect your mental energy. Single-task or batch your tasks as much as possible so that you are not mentally switching gears all the time. Be mindful of what you’re focused on, and check in from time to time to see if you’re putting your attention where you want it to be. Guard your mental space with a few minutes of doing nothing, strict boundaries about your media consumption, whatever feels revitalizing to you.
Line it up. Instead of operating on autopilot, know exactly what you are getting for the time and energy you spend. How does it relate to what you say is important to you? Connect the dots between what you believe and what you do. Sure, it takes time to make adjustments to live your values (and most of us need to adjust every now and again), ultimately it plugs huge drains on your energy.
Build in constructive rest. Slow down and carve out time to relax, physically and mentally. Use your commute to unwind. Go for a mindful walk. Take a 10-minute time out. Do a digital detox every week. Love up your favorite people. Get up from your desk and take a break!
Get into your flow. Get creative in finding ways to spend more time doing those things you’re great at and that you enjoy. Start the process of delegating, dropping or redesigning the tasks that don’t feel like that. Carve out the time every week to engage in activities that fuel your energy. Not sure what they are? Stop reading this article and write down 10 things that you love to do. There you go.
Manage your emotions. Intentionally build more positive emotions– joy, gratitude, inspiration, awe, love, amusement– by regularly choosing activities and thoughts that cultivate them. Yes, research (and personal experience) shows this works. When it comes to the less-than-positive emotions, breathe deep again and feel what you feel, but also practice letting go of emotions that don’t belong to you. Set the boundary, have the conversation you need to have, whatever it takes.
Commit consciously. Being busy is the opposite of strong energy management. Consider your commitments carefully to ensure that you have time and focus for the areas that truly matter to you. These questions can help:
- What happens if you say yes? What happens if you say no?
- Where does this align with my priorities?
- How does my body feel about this commitment?
- Does saying yes to this help create a bigger, better life?
- What do I need right now?
Are there areas of your foundation that feel like they need shoring up?
Where can you better manage your energy so that you have the renewable resources you need to be at your best?
Photo credit: Bright Ideas via photopin