In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed.
There are 8 different types of energy including: thermal energy, radiant energy, chemical energy, nuclear energy, electrical energy, motion energy, sound energy, elastic energy and gravitational energy.
I am a high energy person. I embrace life with zest and I run at it. I lean all in. My life is busy and full. I have created self-care rituals and wellbeing routines over the years to restore me but during lockdown the fatigue has been different and what renews me has needed to change.
“Passion is energy.
Feel the power that comes from focusing on what really excites you”.
The last 12 months has been full on. Buying a house, leaving Headship, going travelling, starting a new job, driving a long commute, doing my MA have taken their toll. Exasperated by events and situations that have drained my emotional energy. My physical, emotional and mental energy levels have needed my regular attention to keep me going.
Lockdown came as a welcome break, it forced me to pause, to be still and to slow down. It came at a good time for me as I worked my notice and prepared to go it alone. It has allowed me to gain energy and time to invest in my new endeavour, it has given me the opportunity to focus and to reflect.
Hitting the ground running on May 1st I have been busy – busy following up conversations about new opportunities, agreeing projects and contracts. I have given my time and energy quite generously, I support others and I do a lot for free. My relationship with me as a resource is going through a new iteration, my time and energy are now my resource for making my living and I need to make sure I prioritise and do not spread myself too thinly.
It is flattering that lots of people want to connect with me, want to talk to me, want to collaborate with me and want to work with me, but each conversation takes up time and energy. Each time someone reaches out to me or is introduced to me I have another demand placed on me and this is how my energy begins to be drained. I am a connector but I can quickly become overwhelmed and over-stretched. I am juggling lots of communications on lots of platforms and am considering how to filter/ streamline. I am also reinforcing that twitter DMs and whatsapp messages about ‘work’ stuff out of hours need to be emails in working hours.
Most people are living at such a furious pace that they rarely stop to ask themselves what they stand for and who they want to be. As a consequence, they let external demands dictate their actions. HBR
Last week I hit a wall. I crashed and burned. My energy levels hit an all time low, my tank hit empty. I have noone to blame but myself. Compounded by low iron levels fatigue kicked in.
So, I forced myself to step back for a few days, I withdrew to reflect and restore. I have revisited self-care rituals that have served me in the past and I have reinforced boundaries that protect me.
As Brits we are obsessed with how we manage our time, but other cultures are more interested in how they manage their energy. I can remember reading a really interesting article in the Harvard Business Review a few years back about it, and how by changing the focus lead to higher levels of productivity.
Time management may give you the time to spend with them but energy management ensures that the time you spend with them is quality time. Energy management works by ensuring that you take time between each sprint (your most important work), to rebuild your energy levels. HBR
I like the analogy of “Life is a marathon, not a sprint” which is a parallel message to the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.
The ultimate message is that we need endurance and willpower to finish what we start. We need to plan our resources, our time and our energy, to cover the whole distance. We don’t want to crash and burn at the first milestone.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.
So I am revisiting and reviewing my time management strategies v my energy management strategies. I am giving myself the advice I often give to others!
- I need to take time between each sprint to rebuild my energy levels.
- I need to remember that my time and energy, like money, are precious resources.
- I need to manage me as carefully as I project manage everything else.
- I need to reflect on my relationship with productivity and success.
- I need to pace myself.
- I need to protect myself.
If this is resonating here are some questions to reflect on to encourage you to implement energy management:
- Do you know what energises you?
- Do you build breaks into your workflow?
- Do you break big projects into manageable chunks?
- Do you celebrate each milestone that you achieve?
- Do you schedule spending time enjoying the things that you love?
I am energised by listening to music, talking to friends, being outside and being purposeful. I am energised by being in flow.
I am restored by sitting still, being quiet, lying on my shakti mat, standing in my garden, going for a stroll, lying in the bath and taking a power nap.
“Everything is Energy and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can not help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics”.
I am going to commit to myself that I am going to regularly do an ‘energy audit’. I am going to reflect on my four energy dimensions: body, emotions, mind, and spirit and consider what I need to be physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually energised.
My body is best looked after when I walk lots, eat healthily, drink more water than gin and when I sleep well. I am good sleeper, I go to bed early but I need 8 hours to be rested and I have been waking up really early recently and I need to break this habit! I need to pay closer attention to preserving my physical energy.
My emotions are best looked after when I have a coach so I have reconnected with mine and am going to build in that time to focus on processing the change I am going on. I am also looking into supervision as I listen to a lot of people and I carry a lot of emotions for others which I need to process. I need to pay closer attention to the quality of my emotional energy.
My mind is best looked after when I am focused and purposeful. I concentrate well but I need to filter out the white noise, I need to be less accessible and I need to prioritise strategy. To enable me to focus I am going to get a Virtual Assistant so that they can filter my communications and streamline my emails and phone calls. My VA can chase overdue invoices and do some of the heavy lifting for me which is weighing me down. I need to be more mindful of my mental energy and be less wired to be ‘on’ all the time.
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life”.
My human spirit is best looked after when my energy is invested in my meaning and purpose. I fully embrace living life authentically and embodying my core values, but my values are being compromised by the world right now. I am feeling deeply affected by the values clash in humanity. I am spiritually energised when I am in flow, in my sweet spot, when my personal priorities are in alignment and when I am fulfilled. I serve my spiritual energy through voice and agency, but I need to remember this is a collective endeavour and it is not my individual responsibility.
So, if like me, you are headed for an energy crisis, consider the cycle of how your life, reflect on your day-to-day existence and plan in your recovery. As humans, we need to be better at effectively managing our resources, we need to focus on managing our energy, not our time.
I am also reflecting on what gives me positive energy and what projects negative energy. I am planning how to manifest more/ less of this in to each day. I am breathing slowly, showing appreciation and changing the story I tell myself about what is going on.
In an organisation recovery and renewal efforts should be planned for, they need support and commitment from leadership and they need to engage the decision making stakeholders. Some businesses have created “renewal rooms” where people can regularly go to relax and refuel.
As an individual working independently, I need to hold myself to account and create this renewal and recovery process for myself. I need to manage my energy, so that I can channel it into influencing the things I am passionate about. I am no good to anyone if my energy is zapped.