Time vs. Energy: What should I manage?

Over the past several weeks I have been feeling tired, drained, and not sure why.  In the midst of this challenge, a friend (who maybe an angel sent to watch over me : )  suggested that I review some material about managing my energy.  They did not suggest it because of expressed concerns for my energy, as I never mentioned it.  They just made the recommendation because they thought it was good information and wanted to share it.  They had no idea how timely this information was for me.  Another one of those strange coincidences that affirms that there is a force that watches over me, over us.

The information was in the form of a podcast published on YouTube.  In a presentation moderated by Liz Morris with Working Families,  she states the reasons why it makes more sense to manage your energy, lists the  five domains of were our energy comes from, provide a brief survey to allow anyone to assess their energy, and then concludes with 10 tips on how to better manage your energy.

After taking the survey, I realized that poor energy management could be my issue.  I then wrote out a brief plan for better managing my energy, and I must say that after a week of implementing some changes, I feel much better (hence the new blog entry, which was the suggestion of another “friend”). You can watch the entire podcast by following the hyper link here: “Manage Your Energy and Not Your Time”.  This information seems to be based on the writings of Tony Schwartz, who published The Way We’re Working isn’t Working.  There is also a website to learn more about these concepts called “The Energy Project”.

Here is the survey.  Be concerned anytime you check off 2 in a grouping:

To assess your Body’s Energy, check off the number that are true:

[] I don’t regular get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired.

[] I frequently skip breakfast, of settle for something that is not nutritious.

[] I don’t work out enough (meaning cardiovascular training at least three times per week, and strength training at least once a week).

[] I don’t take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch at my desk, if I eat it at all.

To assess your Mind’s Energy, check off the number that are true:

[] I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day, especially by e-mail.

[] I spend much of my day reacting to immediate crises, and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value and high leverage.

[] I don’t take enough time for reflection, strategizing , and creative thinking.

[] I work in the evenings or on weekends, and I almost never take an e-mail free vacation.

 To assess your Emotional Energy, check off the number that are true:

[] I frequently find myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious at work, especially when work is demanding.

[] I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not really with them.

[] I have too little time for the activities that I most deeply enjoy.

[] I don’t stop frequently enough to express my appreciation to others or to savor my accomplishments and blessings.

To assess your Spiritual Energy, check off the number that are true:

[] I don’t spend enough time at work doing what I do best and enjoy most.

[] There are significant gaps between what I say is mort important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.

[] My decisions at work are more often influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose.

[] I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world

To assess your Environmental Energy, check off the number that are true:

[] I find it hard to concentrate because of constant interruptions and noise.

[] I feel physically uncomfortable at work.

[] I have no place to unwind or take a break.

[] I feel it hard to concentrate because the work environment is physically restrictive.

It is interesting to me that these issues are all addressed to some extent in the SMARTsteps program.  The survey does however make me aware of areas where improvements can be made.  I am thankful for those at Working Families who put together this thoughtful podcast and published it on YouTube.

I will share my whole plan in another writing, but below are a couple of changes that I have made to my life:

  1. Make at least 3 and preferably 5 entries into my gratitude journal every night.  As of today, I will begin to use the Citizen Report Card as a template for things to look for and write about.
  2. To help control the noise in my environment, I have begun to use noise canceling headphones, with very pleasant music playing.
  3. Try to keep healthy snacks at my fingertips at all time, and especially those that have omega 3 fatty acids, like walnuts.
  4. Get to bed by 10:00 pm
  5. Use the Pomodoro Technique at work

I am so grateful for “friends” who share with me helpful information (without force feeding : ), and help to keep me on my path to a better me.  These are true friends indeed.