I am so excited about today’s episode because I get to share with you something that I have been researching, experimenting with, and really been diving into over the past few months.
I’m going to be talking about energy management.
Energy management has been a bit of a buzzword in the entrepreneurial space as of late and for pretty good reason, harnessing the energy that you have and leveraging it can massively up-level your productive output on a daily and weekly basis, meaning you get better results for the same, or even less effort.
Sounds like a win-win, right?
So today that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Let’s dive in!
- Discover what energy management is.
- Learn why understanding your energy and how to manage it matters and impacts your business.
- Understand how you can work with your energy levels to get more done, without doing more.
Links in this Episode:
- Kate Northrup’s book Do Less
- Episode 013 Why You Are Constantly Distracted and 6 Ways to Fight It
- DM me on Instagram
Rather read than listen? ⬇️
Energy management has been a bit of a buzz word in the entrepreneurial space for a bit now and for good reason. Harnessing the energy you have and leveraging it can massively up-level your productive output on a daily and weekly basis, meaning you get better results for the same or less effort. Sounds like a win-win to me. So today, I’m diving into what energy management is, why it matters, & how you can work with your energy levels to get more done without doing more.
So, like I said this episode is all about managing your energy with the goal of being ultimately productive aka getting stuff done, right? But let’s back up a minute and discuss what exactly energy management is and why it matters.
So, energy management is basically exactly what it sounds like: you are managing your own energy. You might also know this as stamina, but in the world of entrepreneurship this term is used mainly to plan & manage your work and your productivity around your energy levels, rather than ignoring your energy levels altogether. It works with other management techniques, like time management, project management, task management to help you get more done.
However, part of this definition is incomplete. Because a large part of energy management also inherently has to do with not only leveraging & harnessing the energy you already have but actually optimizing your energy so you have more of it to use.
Think about it this way: every day in all aspects of life, including your business, you are trading resources that you have for results. You trade time, energy, money, cognitive bandwidth/focus for the results from using those resources. You might trade money for a social media manager to increase your visibility on Instagram that leads to more sales. You might trade time for the strategies you get from watching a webinar or masterclass, the result being you now know more about those strategies and can in turn leverage them. And you might trade energy to do work of basically any kind.
And the brilliant thing about all of these resources is that none of them act alone, we aren’t using these resources in a vacuum. They influence one another which is really cool because it means that focusing on leveraging one resource actually helps you optimize the others as well.
Time is a finite resource, meaning once it is gone, it’s gone, there is no getting it back. But money, cognitive bandwidth, and energy are all renewable resources & ones you can influence, increase, and impact by optimizing how you use them. You have to be strategic about how you use all your resources.
So, what does this have to do with your productivity?
Well, the combination of those resources & how we use them is what dictates our productivity.
Remember, productivity isn’t doing more, it’s getting more done that moves the needle on what’s important to you. Not efficiency but effectiveness. Not how many things can I check off my list, but how impactful are the results I’m generating on pushing me closer to where I wanna be faster?
And as a productivity coach, I can honestly say that true productivity is sustainable. And sustainable productivity means that you are able to move towards your goals faster and easier because you are consistent.
Productivity is a practice, not a one-time destination. As entrepreneurs, we are what we consistently do meaning that our routines around our lives and businesses & daily habits dictate our success.
If you are busy & running the 24-7 hustle race, sprinting toward the finish line, you are going to run out of steam much faster than if you moved forward strategically, resting and recharging when it made sense. Because running a business, living your life, isn’t a sprint.
Burn out takes more time to come back from than if you just took a day or even a few hours off every once in awhile.
Rest and relaxation are part of the equation to productivity. It’s not just direct action.
Focused action + energy management + rest & relaxation = optimum productivity.
The go-go-go 24-7 hustle mentality. the tying your self-worth to how many things you can do in a single day. the prioritizing everything else over your own self-care in the name of false martyrdom or fake selflessness. those all take a toll on us as women, entrepreneurs, and humans physically, mentally, and emotionally. And THAT leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, poor health, poor focus, poor performance, poor decision-making, brain fog, and yes, burn out.
And those results are not what you signed up for when you said, I’m gonna get a ton of stuff done today. All of those things are actually counteract all of the effort you are putting in, making your efforts LESS effective.
You want avoid burn out because the sprint-and-puke strategy (where you go so hard you make yourself ill and sometimes even do irreparable harm) is actually causing you more time & energy & stress.
And while I love a good productivity hack, productivity hacks are part of a larger strategy. You can’t batch or time-block or Pomodoro Method or time-track your way out of burnout and horrible energy management. You can’t do anything if you can’t focus, work, and move the needle forward consistently.
So, now that I have thoroughly destroyed the hustle mentality as a way of becoming a fulfilled, successful entrepreneur, you may be thinking um okay but how in the world do I do better with increasing my energy and optimizing use of it.
Well, first you need to understand how it works.
How Energy Works
Energy ebbs & flows. There are low energy and high energy times. You can actually leverage these ebbs and flows because not all tasks are created equal, some require more energy than others.
You might feel really energetic in the early or mid morning, then feel a slump in the afternoon after eating, and then have a resurgence of energy in the early evening.
It is also worth mentioning that in addition to daily ebbs & flows, there can also be weekly and monthly rhythms.
You might find it hard to get moving on a Monday or maybe you feel like superwoman on Monday. (Not, I am talking about energy level here, not what you force yourself to do.) Friday afternoons may be your most energetic time or maybe you are checked out by then.
When it comes to monthly ebbs & flows, as most, if not all of my listeners are women, you probably aren’t surprised to hear that your own menstrual cycle can influence energy levels as well. Kate Northrup’s book Do Less and her work on cycle syncing are extremely illuminating and I recommend you check out her material if working with your monthly cycle instead of fighting it. Also, if you are like me and countless others who have IUDs or someone who just doesn’t have a cycle any longer, there are still ways that you can harness these ebbs & flows & leverage them.
How To Leverage Those Energy Ebbs & Flows
The most important aspect of understanding these ebbs & flows are to capitalize on the flows and embrace the ebbs. By establishing specific rituals and habits, you can increase the availability of the energy you need to get more done in less time while working with all of this rather than battling against it.
There are three types or domains of energy to consider, especially when thinking about the demanding work of an entrepreneur in the digital age. And as you might have guessed, these work best when these three work together.
- The first is physical energy. This is probably the one that you are most familiar with. This is the actual fuel you need for your body to run well. A good question to ask yourself is “Is my body supporting me or holding me back?” The focus here is mostly about your physiology helping you move more towards being productive aka leveraging your time and energy expenditure for the most effective outcome.
- The second is emotional energy. Have you ever felt just emotionally drained? It could be because you have allowed your emotions to go unrecognized and unresolved or because you have been in a state of heightened emotions for a sustained period of time. Wasting emotional energy can leave you feeling exhausted and mentally tired in ways that may not be related to your physical health. So a good question to ask yourself is are you able to focus or are you worried about something you are worried or pissed or distracted by? Because stress depletes you & high-levels of heightened emotions are not meant to be a long-term state.
- The third & final is purpose & fulfillment. And this is one that you probably didn’t expect. But purpose, feeling like what we are doing matters is an important piece of the puzzle. Even if you are well-rested, even if you aren’t beyond stressed out, if you are beyond bored with what you are working on or if it feels out of alignment, you aren’t going to find the energy necessary to do it well or effectively. So a question you can ask yourself is “Is what I’m working on motivating & inspiring?”
Just like productivity is a system of different strategies and techniques, so is energy management. You can treat your own energy management system as an experiment to determine what works best for you, piece by piece.
But here are a few specific strategies that you might consider as you are working on creating your own energy management system.
Strategies to consider:
- If things feel a bit scattered and you find yourself unable to focus, do a braindump. This simple 10-20 minute task can clear away the clutter and while it is amazingly effective to do it once, making this a regular routine and habit can massively increase the energy you have for other things.
- Make self-care your priority. As women, and even as moms, we are often most valued & validated when we put others before ourselves. We think the PC answer is to say our kids are our #1 priority or our partner, our marriage, our service to others— yea, I’m not buying it. Because if you don’t take care of you first, you won’t be effective in showing up for those people either. So, as a whole, you can put systems in place to ensure that you are filling your cup, you are taking care of your health, wellness, emotional & spiritual wellbeing, and that you aren’t intentionally or unintentionally signing up for the martyr train.
- Minimize distractions. Yes, distractions are a drain on your energy. I did an entire episode on distractions and how combat them so if this strategy interests you, head on over to check out episode 013 Why You Are Constantly Distracted and 6 Ways to Fight It.
- Be curious about & create your schedule around, your unique rhythms & how you work. This is about working with not only the ebbs & flows of your energy but also how your personality innately drains or recharges your energy stores. For example, some entrepreneurs, like me, are introverts meaning that their alone time is recharging and doing things like meetings are draining; For those that identify as extrovert, maybe meetings are energizing but individual content creation is draining.
- Also, environment matters. Being in a space where there is lots of clutter, lots of noise, lots of potential distractions can all drain your energy quickly. But also, even just the colors on the walls or the amount of light can leave you feeling ready to fall asleep or ready to take on the world.
- And finally, move your ass – I’m not gonna sit here and harp on you to exercise (that’ll come in a future episode to be sure). You know the benefits of movement in an intellectual way. But what I am suggesting is a 3 minute dance party. Put on a song that you can’t NOT move to and just let go. In fact, before I sat down to outline this exact episode that you are listening to right now, I listened to and danced my butt off to Only Love by Hanson. You don’t have to commit to 30 minutes of cardio every day. Just commit to listening your fav high-vibe tune & moving your booty when you are starting to feel a bit tired or unmotivated. It’s an excellent reset if I do say so myself.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Commit to noticing your energy ebbs & flows for 1 week. Write down how you feel at different times and how productive you feel. What gets measured, gets better.