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Managing your Energy not your Time

Managing your Energy; not your Time.

As we begin another year and wade through all of the conversations around resolutions, goal setting and making the most of 2024, I have been slow to decide which goals I would like to direct my energy toward, energy… that seems to be the key consideration every time I am presented with a great idea, become curious about something new or consider committing to some upcoming event.

Although the availability of time is always the first consideration that we evaluate when presented with an activity, If, you’re like me, energy is always the most valuable resource that I am continuously trying to conserve, divide and renew.

You see, time can be a little bit elusive because it is often dictated by the constraints of our established commitments, like work, clubs, appointments, and school. So, even though we can logistically see available time (like the empty two hours on Sunday morning), once it rolls around, we are often left without the necessary energy to meet the demands of the activity. This ends up creating sometimes unrealistic expectations and the experience of failure when we are unable to utilize every spare minute of our time, turning our goals into disappointments. The conundrum of time vs. energy can often leave us feeling stuck and without a clear way to move forward.

In his book, Life on Purpose, Victor Strecher proposes that part of the answer to creating momentum and living intentionally towards your values is in the art of effectively managing your energy to ensure that your reserves are available for the moments that fill you with a sense of purpose and meaning. This means choosing activities that provide energy in balance with those that expend and drain our energy. For Victor, this means adding SPACE in your life to cultivate and effectively channel your energy:

Sleep – prioritizing your sleep is vital to having the necessary energy to accomplish the things you want to do.

Presence –

practicing the art of being mindful in your life by allowing yourself to notice whatever is happening inside and out without judgment – just to observe. Presence gives us the power to access the energy in the moments we experience and trains our brain to focus on what is right in front of us rather than expending energy in the past and future.

Activity –

moving your body in way that honours where you are at and the abilities that you have literally creates more energy for you to put towards meaningful activities.

Creativity –

tapping into your creative self is a way to connect you to your world, provide a sense of agency and generate the motivation to engage through the power of pleasure.

Eating –

prioritizing the fuel that is running your machine in a way that provides balance and nourishes you at the same time can have a significant impact on the energy that we have to expend.

Reading this gave me pause and helped me to step back and redefine what I am trying to manage in order to accomplish the meaningful moments in my life. It is not more time that I need, but the ability, boundaries, and self-compassion to monitor, honour, and prioritize my energy. So, perhaps rather than fitting more into my schedule, I need to re-focus on ensuring that I have enough energy by prioritizing the energy producing activities in my life, like rest, breath, movement, curiosity, and nutrition.

If you would like to explore how your activities are adding to or drawing on your energy reserves, and consider ways to build in the self-compassion required to prioritize and protect your own energy we are here to provide a little space in your day.

Written by: Shelley Petry
Registered Provisional Psychologist

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