As I write this post, the seasons here in the northern hemisphere are slowing turning towards spring. There’s blossom on the trees, and I get tremendous joy out of seeing my garden (and house!) plants awaken after winter. It’s also a little over a year since the beginning of the first lockdown. And despite the first signs of Spring, and despite the easing of lockdown in some regions of the world, I know that many of us feel heavy. Like we don’t have the energy we thought we would. Like we’re just tired. If that’s you, then this post on 5 ways of working with your energy is for you.
A version of this post originally appeared in my monthly newsletter, in which I write about work-life balance for female small business owners in the broadest sense. If you too would like some monthly inspiration in your inbox on how to build and run a business on your terms, without the hustle and the pressure, you can sign up here.
5 ways to work with your energy
#1 Check in
Make a habit of checking in with your energy levels. How do you feel when you get up in the morning? How do you feel looking ahead to the coming week?
Based on that check-in, see if you can make any necessary changes. If you’re feeling tired, a slower start to the day might be possible. It can also help to radically reprioritise your day or week. Go through your to-do list and identify the things that are non-negotiable for that week. These are things that have deadlines that cannot be extended, for example.
Often we feel like everything is important on our to-do list, but that’s rarely the case. If you’re feeling tired, taking a closer look at your to-do list can free up space to rest, or simply to take some more time with the tasks you do have or want to do.
#2 Look ahead
Are there any late nights or particularly early mornings on your schedule this week? Do you have any events planned that will be particular drains, or are that moments when you know you’ll feel more energised?
Plan your week around these moments, and try to avoid having multiple energy drains in one day. If you cannot avoid energy drains, find ways of adding some downtime in between. For instance, if you’ve got two important but draining meetings scheduled on one day, plan in some time for yourself in between them. Take a brief walk, sit down with a book, or simply get away from your computer for fifteen minutes.
Need more help to follow your energy in your business?
I’m here to support you. Find out more about my 1:1 mentoring for female small business owners, and let’s chat.
#3 Track it
Start keeping track of the actions, tasks and people that drain your energy, and those that give you energy.
You can do this quite simply by keeping an energy balance sheet like the one my newsletter subscribers get for free.
After just a day or two this will give you a clear insight into the things that are taking your energy. It will most probably also inspire you to take action, and start adding more things to your life that give you energy, and fewer that drain it.
#4 Conserve your energy
Find ways of conserving your energy. Once you know which actions, tasks and people drain your energy, find ways of avoiding or minimising them.
This might mean making big changes, like giving a big project back to your client, or making smaller changes like choosing how you spend your time. I personally find conversations in which people gossip and complain very draining, but am not always able to avoid them. What I’ve tried to do instead is shift the topic (and coming up with a list of alternative topics in advance).
If you’re tired of talking about politics, the pandemic or any other draining topic, say so. Ask a friend or partner to change the topic.
#5 Add an energizer
In education, an ‘energizer’ is an activity that activates students, especially at the end of the day when everyone is feeling sleepy.
Make your own list of personal energizers. I know that a walk will often make me feel more energised—even if I was feeling tired when I set out. Having an impromptu dance party to some of your favourite songs can be another way to add some energy to your day. Not drinking enough water or having enough to eat can also make us feel sleepy (hello four o’clock slump). Have a glass of water or two, and eat a healthy snack.
I hope you enjoyed these 5 ways of working with your energy in your business and life.
Want more newsletters and other strategies on creating the work-life balance you crave as a business owner?