Manage your Energy to Maximize your Time

Are you running out of energy before you get through your To-Do list? Time management is an impossible task. You cannot affect time one bit here in the real world. You can speed up or slow down your perception of it, but it will pass just the same. Yet, we try to manage it every day and get frustrated because we cannot get more done in less time.

Your personal energy however is something you can manage. When you are feeling enthusiastic, you get more done. When you are feeling blah or just tired, you either get less done, or you take longer to do it, or you don’t do your best at it.

So, instead of trying to find the 25th hour in a day, try managing your energy to take advantage of what time you do have. Many things will affect your energy level—skipping breakfast, the tiff with your significant other, a sick child, and overdue bills will all drain your energy. On the other hand, being properly nourished, having supportive relationships, everyone being healthy and paying your bills on time can energize you.

When things are going well in your life, you are able to focus on your work –you produce more, you achieve more. Here are a few energy management tips to help you make the best use of your time:

De-clutter. Clutter is draining. Just looking at it can make you tired. Spend a few minutes every day to put things away and you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll save time looking through piles of stuff!

Avoid toxic people. Life is too short! If people in your life are bringing you down, stay away from them just like you would avoid a virus! If you cannot totally avoid them (for instance, if it’s a family member), then limit the time you expose yourself and consider talking to them or suggest family counseling to work on the issues.

Do the tough stuff first. Whatever you dread the most every day, do it first. Just getting it done will lift you up and you will feel such a sense of accomplishment that you can tackle your other, more fun tasks with renewed vigor.

Relax. Take some time every day to sit quietly, preferably alone and just relax. Take some classes in meditation. Take a nap. Stretch. Do yoga. Do whatever you find relaxing and quieting. Take a cup of tea out to your garden. (By the way, watching TV is not usually a very relaxing activity.)

Connect. Take time every day, even if it’s just a few minutes to connect with your loved ones. A bedtime story, a shared meal, a conversation, a walk around the block with your children, spouse, friend or neighbor can really recharge your batteries by reminding you of your blessings and what really counts.

Eat healthy foods. Sounds simplistic, but there’s science behind it. More fruits, vegetables and whole grains, less fat and sugar. Your body runs better with the proper kind of fuel. Just like you would not put water in your car’s gas tank, don’t put junk in your own.

Drink more water. Dehydration is often a reason for sluggishness, headaches and feeling bad. Drink water throughout the day; don’t wait until you are thirsty.

Exercise. You knew this was coming, right? Amazingly, exercise gives you more energy than it uses, unless you overdo it. Moderate exercise, like a 30-minute walk is refreshing and energizing. The hardest part is getting your butt off the couch and out the door. Truly—after that, it gets easier! Do it at least 3 times a week and you will see for yourself.

These tips cannot create another hour for you, but they can certainly help you enjoy the hours you do have, and as a result, you will be able to focus and get more done. Remember, you have just as much time as anyone—it really is equal opportunity! Every choice you make about how you use your time is a choice about how you live your life. Taking care of yourself, your loved ones and your environment are not only good choices, they are essential to a good life.

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For more information on personal energy management, this book is full of great ideas, examples and tips: