(Trying to) Manage Energy vs. Time

GroundFloor Media (GFM) is truly incredible when it comes to encouraging employees to find a work/life blend. They absolutely walk the talk of allowing team members to work whenever and wherever – as long as they get their work done. That being said, as a working mom, I still find that “the juggle” is very real and, at times, overwhelming. I start strong at the beginning of every week, but am typically exhausted and dragging myself across the finish line by Friday. So, I recently embarked on a personal journey to try to find a way to remedy that – so that I can be better at both of my jobs (PR and mom).

A friend suggested I read The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. As the tagline on the book’s cover says, its premise is that “managing energy, not time, is the key to performance, health and happiness.” My first hurdle? Finding time to actually read the book. Ha! Enter the wonderful world of Audible – after several unsuccessful attempts to read the book, I decided to listen to it instead. Success at last! (Note – the book itself is super interesting; that was not the problem – it was purely all about time. I have a long commute to and from work, which proved to be the solution.)

As you might expect, the authors have a lot of valuable insights and suggestions into how to better manage your energy. They also have great case studies of individuals who have completed their program – many of whom I could really relate to, at least in certain regards.

My Big Energy Management “Aha’s”

While there is so much more to the book, my big “aha” came with the idea of making incremental changes in your life to help manage your energy – vs. trying to make massive changes all at once. The idea being, of course, that smaller changes are easier to maintain, and you can build on them as you go.

Two immediate changes I’ve made (OK, I’m still working at them) are:

  • To get up 30 minutes earlier than usual to allow myself some quiet time at the start of the day (and, frankly, to simply give myself more time to avoid a rushed morning routine). The difference when I do this is amazing. I am so much calmer throughout the morning because I’m not racing against the clock to get myself and my children out the door. And I start the work day with more energy because I didn’t completely zap myself of all energy with a stressful, hectic morning.
  • To create a “margin” (a term I picked up from another source – the Spring 2017 issue of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal) at the end of every day, where I power down by no later than 10:15 so that I can quiet my mind by reading before bed. I’ve long known this helps me immensely – I just don’t always succeed in making it happen. However, when I do, it makes all the difference in how I sleep and, subsequently, how I feel the next day. A note re: what I read – for me, this needs to be mindless fiction – not self-improvement or business-related books, ergo using Audible for The Power of Full Engagement.

I’m just two weeks in to my experiment so far, and those weeks were hit or miss in terms of living these two small changes. But I do absolutely see a difference in my energy levels when I manage to achieve them.

As I stated before, the working mom “juggle” is real – but I’m hopeful that being better able to manage my energy will help me to achieve a work/life blend in which I’m able to give my all in both areas. I’d love to hear what “tricks” have worked for you when it comes to energy management. All suggestions are welcome!

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