Since I was young, I’ve always had a full schedule, I think it’s a curse of the Millennial Generation. As a result, I learned how to successfully manage my time at a very young age. I was a cheerleader, showed horses, played instruments, sang in the choir, was very active in my youth group, friends, family…blah, blah, blah. In a positive light, I was able to simultaneously pursue my passions and learn to be highly productive. However, this also has had a negative side. We’ve all heard the saying, stress kills.
Every few months I would become very ill, or just become unable to deal with what was on my plate. Already as a young teenager, I was dealing with the stress of an adult. I was 20 years old when I ended up in the emergency room, my body was literally breaking out in hives from head to toe.
That was a wakeup call.
I finally had to admit that time management was more than just budgeting time and being busy all of the time. It's something that I have to work on everyday. People often ask me how I manage my time, and although I still have to be very careful, and remember when to say no, if there is one thing that I’ve learned, time management is about managing your energy. This wasn’t easy for me to grasp, as it’s a little more complex than prioritizing projects.
Ima break it down like this.
Let’s say that you have an art project that you’d like to finish, and an important office deadline approaching. Both are of equal importance. Most likely you follow your gut instinct and work on the office project first (because it pays the bills), and save your art project for when you get home at the end of the day. By then, you’re mentally exhausted, and you’re best creative energy (Hands on Time, as I like to call it) is loooooong gone. Repeat this cycle day after day, and before you know it, months have gone by and you haven’t worked on any of your own personal projects. This leads you feeling more drained, perhaps guilty, and unmotivated. Not to mention, way too drained to exercise, cook a healthy meal, or be social.Yuck!
Although you have deadlines, and endless lists of busy work, before you give them all of your time, consider managing your ENERGY, in addition to your time. Your emails, and tasks will never be complete. So instead of giving them your undeserved and precious Hands on Time, schedule your day based on the creative work that you want to get done and/or needs your greatest physical energy. With proper Energy Management, multiple projects can be worked on in a single day.
I now get up and work on my personal projects when I’m at my physical best. I save my marketing projects, emails, and computer time for when I’m at home with a cuppa. I feel much more rested, productive, and satisfied than I ever did in the past, yet I'm still getting everything done. In fact, I'm getting more done!
Do you practice Energy Management? Let us know how you manage to keep your time and energy balanced while staying productive. I’d love to hear.