I recently read a terrific blog post on the website of Dr. Michelle Robin, a speaker, author, radio host, and chiropractor who practices in the Kansas City area. Michelle is the founder of a remarkable integrative healing center called Your Wellness Connection.

The post, Manage Energy, Not Time, was written by a friend of hers, Jenne Fromm–a life coach, facilitator, speaker and consultant who also is in the Kansas City area. If you follow the Forte blog, you know that we’re all about energy! So I’ve received permission to repost Jenne’s inspiring blog here.

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MANAGE ENERGY, NOT TIME

“You can’t do everything, Kiddo” – My Grandpa

One thing I know for sure is that you have to choose where you spend your time. No one can be everywhere, do everything and relate well to everyone (nor are you supposed to, but that’s another post). Life can pull you into a stream of activities. All of them seem good. All of them seem worthwhile. If you aren’t careful you can fall into a cycle of go, go, go and end up feeling drained. Suddenly you realize falling into a heap at the end of the day is your norm. You are trying to be a better version of yourself, but man, it sure feels like a lot of work. Even when you’ve made the right choices to spend time on the important things, it is difficult. That’s because when you are moving toward the best version of you, you aren’t just spending time, you are spending energy.

As much as we talk in our society about time management, we spend NO time talking about energy management. Why? Well, take a look at this comparison between time and energy:

Time

Is consistent – 40 minutes for me is 40 minutes for you>

Is renewed everyday – no matter how well you manage it, you always get a new set of 24 hours each day>

Is tied to itself – if I spend 26 minutes on a task, it has taken me 26 minutes. Not 28 or 14. 26. It is what it is.

Energy

Is inconsistent – what gives me energy could drain it from you>

Is only renewed intentionally – you don’t get regular energy deposits each day (wouldn’t that be great?)>

Isn’t tied to time – I could spend 26 minutes on a task that takes 3 days worth of energy. Or I could spend 10 minutes on a task that renews my energy stores for weeks.

It’s much harder to manage energy than it is to manage time. So, society doesn’t talk about energy management.

Everyone who had a piggy bank, or who has a bank account now understands the concept of deposits and withdrawals. Deposits put money in the bank. Withdrawals take money out of the bank.

All is well as long as your withdrawals don’t exceed your deposits, right? Too many withdrawals, and you are in an overdraft situation. However, that doesn’t mean withdrawals are bad. Withdrawals can be great! I mean what’s the point of having money in the pig anyway? It’s to spend it on meaningful things, right? Overdraft comes from two places – too many withdrawals or too few deposits. (You see where I’m going here, right?)

What’s true for your bank account is also true for your energy account. Some activities put energy in your pig, and some take it out. And just like it’s your responsibility to keep a healthy balance in your bank account, it’s also your job to keep a good balance in your energy pig.

Let’s look at your calendar for this week. First look at the AMOUNT OF TIME you have scheduled. Maybe you have an incredibly full week – lunches and appointments and meetings and more. Or maybe you only have one or two items on your schedule. Try to see it only in terms of time. Even a full schedule may only have 4 or 5 hours a day scheduled. 4 or 5 out of 24 – doesn’t seem so bad, right? Now look at the AMOUNT OF ENERGY you will spend. Notice anything?

If you are like most people, the amount of time you will spend may not equal the amount of energy you will spend. In fact, it usually has very little to do with it. Perhaps you are looking at your very full calendar for next week and jumping up and down with excitement – you can’t WAIT for next week!

But maybe you look at the following week and see only one meeting on your calendar and you fill with dread and blah because you know that meeting is going to be a suck-fest and your energy is going to d-r-a-i-n  right out of you.  And that’s the challenge. Being diligent about managing your energy. Because energy matters.

What can you do? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Be aware of your energy pig. Instead of scheduling tasks and commitments based on the amount of time they will use, consider scheduling based on the amount of energy they will use.
  2. Start by labeling the events you currently have scheduled. Will it give you energy? Give it a plus (+) in your calendar. Will it take it away? Give it a minus (-). Too many minuses? You may want to think about cutting a few or even better – adding some pluses!
  3. Be intentional about spending your free energy. Instead of asking “do I have time to do this?” ask “do I have energy to do this?”
  4. Look honestly at your schedule. If you have an event or commitment that will spend your energy, bookend it with events or activities that will renew your energy.

It takes discipline and awareness, but soon you will find you are “leveling out.” You’ll stop having tremendous drains in your month because you’ve intentionally balanced your energy withdraws and deposits.  A hidden treasure? Your energy spends will become more meaningful because you are doing them with intent and a full heart.

Shazam! Energy – it’s where it’s at!

Thank you, Jenne and Michelle!

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