Energy Management is the New Black

What balances out your energy? Have you tried energy management instead of time management?
Photo by Praveesh Palakeel.

A friend of mine, Alexia Gillespie (brilliant person and founder of Strong Healthy Kids), recently posted on Facebook that she is shifting her focus from time management to energy management.

"This shift is requiring unlearning & repatterning but it's freeing and life-giving. In the process of releasing my self-imposed expectations, I've started to see how my sense of self-worth has been tied to busyness and productivity, which often leaves me feeling drained and depleted."

I haven't had a chance to ask her about how she is approaching this yet, but I looked up the idea and came across a bunch of articles about energy management:

- One from the Harvard Business Review that's all about using energy management so that you can continue to churn 12-hour days into the capitalist machine of your job without hating your life (okayyyy, I mean the not hating your life part is good). The good tip from this article is the reminder that our energy comes from four places: body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

- Another one from a coaching website breaks down the process of shifting to energy management a little more: 1) learn what energizes you, 2) increase your breaks, 3) reward yourself along the way, and 4) schedule in the activities you love (which lines up very well with my recent post about putting the hobbies and other fun things you want to do on your calendar or to-do list).

- Another article, dramatically titled "Time Management is Dead: Long Live Energy Management" details a more rigid approach to energy management with the 50-10-50-30 rule. You do 50 minutes of focussed work, take a 10-minute refresh and do something energizing, then 50 more minutes of focus, then a 30-minute full recharge.

All of this is pretty heavy on the "I still need to be a machine of productivity, I'm just going to approach it slightly differently," which doesn't seem to be what Alexia was talking about, what with the talk of uncoupling her self-worth from productivity expectations. But there are some good tips in there.

One thing I got really good at during lockdown life was paying attention to what my mind/body/spirit needed. Did I need to go for a walk? Exercise? Lie on the ground and have my cat walk all over me? As life began to return to a version of normal, I lost some of that. Time to work on bringing it back.


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