how I run my business when I have little energy

One of the reasons why I started my own business was because I wanted to work differently. I craved a routine that was away from the hustle and from always having to be productive. Having a slow, gentle and profitable business makes that happen for me, but I still have days (or weeks) when I don’t have a lot of energy. In this post, I’ll share how I run my business when I have little energy (including, how I make space for rest). 

#1 rest

Making time and space for rest is the most important thing when I don’t have a lot of energy. 

Rest is not something you need to earn. Rest is a primary component of our day (and not just when we sleep). 

No matter if you’re feeling great, or if you’re having a day or week when you have little energy, you need to make space and time for rest for yourself. This can be as little as a 30-minute nap, sitting out in the sun for 15 minutes, or arranging for childcare so you can do something that recharges you. 

I love this quote by Anne Helen Petersen: “You are beloved and worthy of rest. Not because of your capacity to work, or your relative capacity to subsist on fumes. You are beloved and worthy of rest because you are human, not a robot.” 

Rest is not something you need to earn. Rest is a primary component of our day (and not just when we sleep).

#2 take a step back

Whenever I have days or weeks when I have little energy, I sit down with my calendar and try to strip away anything that is not my core business. My core business is working 1:1 with lovely small business owners, so that’s where my priority lies. If I have energy enough for a one-hour call, I let these calls go ahead–and they usually give me new energy too because I love connecting this way. 

I move as much as possible from my list, including writing newsletters, writing blog posts, dealing with emails, accounts, everything. For example, this past December and January, I didn’t send out a newsletter because I just didn’t have the energy to write one. I worried for a moment that everyone would’ve left in the meantime, but they hadn’t 🙂 

When I’m ill, or really don’t have energy I cancel calls too–as I hope you would too. 

I realize that I’m privileged in many ways. I have income from my clients, as well as from my part-time teaching job, even when I don’t write newsletters. My partner has an income as well, and even though it doesn’t cover quite all of our expenses, it helps. And I have a financial buffer for my business. 

I know that not everyone has the same kind of privileges. However, I hope that you’d nonetheless be able to make space for yourself–even if it’s just an hour–if you need it.

#3 work in small increments

Especially on days when I don’t have a lot of energy, I work in 30-minute increments. I set a timer (I love this one), and sit down to work. This really helps me: often the act of doing some work in my business makes me feel really good, and setting the timer keeps me from depleting myself. 

During particularly rough times, I’ll only spend 30 minutes at my desk a day. I struggled with accepting that for a long time, but it seems to get a little easier. Working in small increments is also the perfect way of chipping away and run your business when you have little energy.

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#4 do low energy tasks

There are a couple of tasks in my business that don’t require all of my attention. I turn to them when I don’t have a lot of energy, but still feel like working on my business. 

For instance, I publish my old newsletters on my blog. This isn’t a lot of work: I’ve already written it, so it’s a matter of copy-and-pasting, doing some formatting and a tiny bit of SEO. 

I’ll also format worksheets for which I’ve already written the text (little thinking required), or do some gentle brainstorming for new blog posts, newsletters or services.

#5 make use of moments when I have more energy

I’ll make use of moments when I tend to feel most awake in the day, especially after lunch. If I do have to do something that requires a bit more brainpower, that’s when I do it.

#6 lean into my energy + inspiration in general

If I have a secret as to how I run my business when I have little energy, this is it. 

I used to be very rigid when it came to my energy and inspiration. In fact, as a PhD student, I might have said that I don’t believe in inspiration, I believe in getting down to work (cringe). 

Now, I seize the energy and inspiration when they appear. When I feel like writing, I write–which means that I’m usually ahead with newsletters that I schedule to go out. 

When I feel more in the mood to create and schedule Pins, I do that. 

As I’m writing this, I’m definitely having a low energy week. Tomorrow, my newsletter is going out, which I’ve had scheduled for over a week. Two Pins are going out every day this week, and I don’t have to think about them because I scheduled them weeks ago. 

Of course, I too need to deal with things that have deadlines. I have to do my taxes just like you do. And my inspiration and energy don’t always coincide neatly with those deadlines. But this happens far less than when I was not leaning into my energy and inspiration. 

I have learned to trust that my energy + inspiration will come back.

I’d love to know how you run your business when you have little energy. How do you make space for rest? Do you have systems in place that allow your business to go forward? Where do you make choices and cancel appointments? Send me a message, I’m also eager to learn more about this.

I’d love to support you if you want to work with your energy, inspiration and rhythms in your business. I’m here if you crave that slow, gentle and profitable business that truly nourishes you. Discover how we can work together here.

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