In the last article, So long, Time Management. You’re history. I shared my dissatisfaction with the role of Time Management and how it’s high time to transcend to Energy Management.
It’s not a “doing away with Time Management” as much as an evolution of it.
The problem is that the ToDo List and Schedule have become Relentless Task Masters wielding the power to make us feel crappy for not getting X and Y done.
What’s an alternative? Flip the power structure.
How? Connect with and develop awareness of your inner rhythms.
Think about a master painter at work in her studio. Do you think she’s expecting progress on her projects to happen in pre-determined 30-minutes scheduled time slots?
Somehow she decides which canvas to work on, when, for how long and how and where to apply the brush strokes.
Her direction isn’t pushed by a Task Master—she follows a different muse.
Who’s your muse?
Sound like a tough question? It’s actually quite simple: your muse is your Soul.
Partnering with her promotes fulfillment.
Ignoring her leads to dissatisfaction.
What’s your primary job in this life?
Another toughie made easy: To manifest your Soul’s Presence (go for the gusto!)
You are the master artist designing your experience on the canvas of your life. (Tweet this)
Tweet this quote!
Thus, to flip the power structure in managing your day, you get to listen to your own personal muse. In other words, live a Soul supportive life.
Living a Soul supportive life happens by listening to and managing your energy.
Listening to your energy means learning how to perceive:
- what drains your energy (a signifier that you’re moving away from your soul presence), and
- what refuels your energy (signifier that you’re on the right track).
Managing your energy is to make decisions and spend your energy in a way that supports You.
Let’s look at seven factors that make conserving and wisely spending your energy easier:
- Building Soul support into your schedule and protecting it fiercely.
Creativity, fun, gratuitous curiosity, processing time, spontaneity, movement, gratitude, appreciation… These are the things that help you experientially remember who you are and who you are becoming. Unfortunately, they tend to be the first things to get trashed when the going gets busy!If painting is your thing, then give it a block of time in your calendar. Maybe it’s just one morning or afternoon a week. Maybe it’s every day. If it lights you up, then park it on your calendar and get Mamma Bear fierce about it!Other ideas for supporting your Soul: create a morning routine that includes connecting with your Big Dreams. Brainstorm (and then do daily) various ways to get silly and lighten up between tasks. Journal your gratitude practice before you go to bed.
- Doing the right thing at the right time.
In other words, match tasks with the natural flow of your energy levels.For example: your most important Work should get your best energy. Maybe this means:
- reserving morning energy for high-focus and creative project tasks.
- grouping your easy busywork tasks together (this is where your digital ToDo Manager shines!) and do them in the mid-afternoon lull.
- making coffee appointment with your girlfriend later in the day.
You can apply this concept in so many ways!
- Containing your activities.
Different mental processes don’t mix well. It takes more energy to jump back and forth, not to mention it’s more stress inducing.By setting an intention for a work session, you inherently understand what’s allowed during that time which decreases the amount of energy you expend. (I.e. You don’t put broccoli in fruit salad—it just doesn’t belong!)Say you decide to work on an article (Focus time). Then minimize distractions by closing your email program and web browser, put your phone in airplane mode, and ask those around you to let you work in peace for the next hour.
- Acknowledging your current state of being.
Pausing for self-awareness and self-compassion help you stay steady throughout the day without denying what’s going on within.Mentally tired? Take a break or work on something that requires minimal brain juice or switch to a physical task on your list.Sense irritation, aggravation or anxiety around a situation? Listen in and ask Why?Catch yourself in an act of self-sabotage? Be compassionate and ask what you’re really needing in the moment.
- Managing your schedule wholistically.
It’s soooo easy to look at your calendar like a puzzle to arbitrarily shift colored blocks of time around in.Instead, take a step back to consider themes of the week, upcoming major events, your mood cycle, what’s going on with family and friends, major projects on your plate. All these combine to create a setting for your physical, emotional and spiritual health.So if your week is packed, and your Thursday afternoon appointment cancels, rather than schedule someone else’s priority there, create an appointment for “self care” or “catch up” or “my time”.Give yourself permission to breathe.
To be spacious.
To be kind to yourself.
- Using your tools and systems well.Of course we want to have tools, too! Your ToDo list and Calendar are powerful manifestation tools when managed with compassion and awareness of your value-based priorities.The words in this heading are specific:
Use–in order to trust your tools, you need to use them consistently and keep them up to date.Tools–stop using your head as a storage space! There’s an app for that and honestly, it’ll give you more freedom and options than keeping reminders in your head.Systems–these are how you tie together your various tools and remember to get big picture on a weekly basis.
Well–being mindful about what you are entering into your ToDo List and Calendar is a way to be kind to your future self. It takes a little more energy to pause and make sure a ToDo is clear on purpose and wording, and it will pay off exponentially.
- Aligning your expectations with the realities of your schedule.
Unrealistic expectations are major forces to be reckoned with—in fact they are one of the main culprits giving inordinate amounts of power to your Schedule and ToDo List.Being realistic extends beyond how many ToDos you have on your list. It includes considering the themes in your week, what’s on deck in the next couple of weeks, how late you’ve been staying up for the past week, and acknowledging that your cat who just had kittens may take up some of your work time.
It’s high time to reclaim your power from guilt-inducing practices.
These are seven ways in which to manage your life and work differently. Just say NO to feeling depleted and drained. NO more pushing and struggling and still ending up dissatisfied at the end of the day.
Just like an artist, you too have a muse, an intuitive sense of what to do when and how. You too can sense the integrity of knowing whether you are on the right path or not. You too have an inner knowing of where you ultimately want to go and who you want to be.
You only have so much energy in a day. By managing your energy with the intention of being Soul supportive, your commitments and actions align with health and satisfaction on all levels. It feels good, looks good, and dang it, tastes good, too.