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Why You Never Have Enough Time (And What You Can Do About It)

by Ashley on June 23, 2014 · 0 comments

why you never have enough time

Are you constantly exhausted with no energy to do the things you really want to do? Do you rush from one meeting to another, doing everything you think you should do, but feel like there’s no time to focus on your passions?

I used to feel the same way. I thought if I could just find that one time management trick I was missing, everything would fall into place and I’d magically have enough space in my schedule to work on my passion project.

I thought I could work full-time as a counselor and then build my coaching business at night. In theory, that sounds doable, right? I mean, there are plenty of post-work hours, so I’d have lots of time to work on my business.

The trouble is, I was focusing on time management and not enough on energy management.

What actually happened was that after working all day, my creative energy was non-existent. I could use that time for cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or running errands, but it was nearly impossible for me to channel my creative energy.

I learned that this was happening because the time window I was using to work toward my big goal wasn’t scheduled during the time when I was at my best, energy-wise.

Looking back, it’s super obvious that working nine hours was leaving me drained, without any energy to give to my business. But still, I never wanted to admit that I couldn’t pack every hour of my day full of something “productive” or “worthwhile”. If I decided to take the night off, my inner critic came out loud and clear saying, “You’re just being lazy! There’s plenty of time for this!” But, of course, time wasn’t what I needed. I needed energy.

Finally, I realized that the key to making things happen in way that feels good is to properly manage your energy, not your time.

I know I’m at my most creative and mentally alert in the late mornings, right after I finish running, which means that’s when I should be writing and creating, not answering emails and other “busy work.”

If you feel like never have enough time, it’s up to you to figure out when you have the most energy and plan your schedule so that you can focus on what’s most important.

Here are 3 simple techniques to help monitor your energy levels:

Get clear on your priorities

Most of us feel exhausted because we have too much on our plate. We’re rushing from the office to the gym, to the grocery store, to book club. It’s no wonder we have no energy. The first step to managing your energy is identifying your top 3 priorities.

What’s most important to you? What do you need to remove from your schedule? What can you say no to that doesn’t support your biggest goals?

Practice mindfulness

Check in with yourself throughout the day and begin to notice what an energy drain feels like to you. See if you feel where your energy is in that moment, and jot down a sentence or two about what you notice.

What physical sensations do you notice when your energy is drained? Where in your body do you feel the drain in? What does it feel like? What thoughts tend to pop up when your energy tank is getting low? What about after you are rested and recharged?

Keep an energy journal

Set aside 15 minutes each evening to look back over the day and review any events or experiences that feel significant (good or bad), how you remember that experience affecting your energy levels at the time, and what your energy level feel like currently.

Do this for a few weeks, and then look back over what you’ve written and see if you notice any patterns.

Learning to manage your energy is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. If you don’t take care of your own needs, who will? You have to learn to say no to certain things in order to save energy & time for the things that really matter. It’s all about nurturing yourself so that you give your best to others.

P.S. If you want to learn more about managing your energy and hear about my upcoming retreat for introverts, The Starlight Gathering, I’d love for you to join for me tomorrow at 11am PT/2pm ET for LIVE Google Hangout. It’s gonna be so much fun! You can grab your spot here.

[photo credit: h_is_for_home]

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