Feeling Stuck? Here's why energy management > time management

Let me ask you this: do you ever find yourself feeling bored, uninspired, or just plain TIRED when you look at your to-do list for the day or week ahead?

I know I do.

It’s weird: sometimes I look down the list of things I’ve planned and I can’t wait to get to them – I even have to stop myself from getting on my bike and riding over to the studio at 11pm when I know I have an early morning the next day and it can wait.

Other times even the things I normally enjoy seem too hard, too exhausting, impossible.

I can’t help but wonder — why?

There’s a lot of talk in Western culture about productivity, efficiency and time management.

This is all good – we need systems in place to accomplish the things we set out to, without getting overwhelmed or forgetting things. There’s simply too much to keep it all in our heads.

But what if we know what we need to do, but we don’t feel we have the energy or motivation to actually do it, and do it effectively?

Here’s the thing: as much as we might like to pretend we’ve got it all figured out, and we’re constantly validated by capitalist culture for being BUSY, the simple truth is that we are human, and human beings aren’t robots.

Human beings at the core are sensitive, emotional, whimsical, curious. Of course we can also be logical, efficient, systematic. But to ignore the intuitive side is to ignore at least half of who we are, and how we operate.

This is why time management is important but it’s only part of the puzzle. Another part – an equally or even more important one – is energy management.

In industry, energy management refers to “the proactive, organized and systematic coordination of procurement, conversion, distribution and use of energy to meet the requirements, taking into account environmental and economic objectives.”*

NAUTILUS. An impomptu studio session produces a new edition of handmade prints.

NAUTILUS. An impomptu studio session produces a new edition of handmade prints.

Let’s break that down.

What does this mean, and how can you apply it to your individual energy, and your capacity to be effective in your own life?

You can have all the time in the world but if your energy is compromised, you won’t be able to accomplish all that much.

It’s taken me a long time to realize it, but the truth is sometimes when you’re looking down a to-do list a mile long and feeling dread and anxiety and exhaustion at the prospect of tackling any of it, probably the most effective thing you can do is lie down and close your eyes for 20 minutes.

Or go take a walk and notice which flowers are in bloom right now.

Too often in our lives we set aside imagination in favour of cold rationality, whimsy in favour of logic, dreams in favour of plans.

Not only is this a huge drag, it’s actually inefficient.

Your capacity to be effective in your own life depends entirely on the quality of your energy.

So do yourself a favour and next time you’re feeling drained, bored, and uninspired – put aside your lists, put aside your schedules and ask yourself: do I need to do any of this right now? If the answer is no, just pause and do something nice and easy for yourself. Hit the reset button — whatever that means for you – bake a banana bread, read a trashy novel, repot your favourite houseplant, whatever.

See what happens to your outer gardens when you take a moment to tend to your inner gardens.

Now I’d love to hear from you: when you’re feeling drained, what do you do to shift your energy? Tell me in the comments below!

Yours truly in vibrant creative energy and beyond,

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*Definition of energy management courtesy of Wikipedia