“No rest for the wicked.”
“Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – not stopping now.”
If you are anything like me, you’ve probably uttered one or more of these motivational phrases while dealing with any project at work or school. We are the types of people who are continuously in motion. We always have a project on the go, sometimes even more, and refuse to stop working until the final copy is edited, smoothed over and in the hands of our boss or client. And as soon as one project leaves our hands, we immediately begin working on another.
Once 5 o’clock strikes, we begin the same routine for our personal lives. Eating healthy, working out, cleaning and hanging out with friends. We try to do it all, but honestly, there simply isn’t enough time to do everything. There are only 24 hours in the day, eight of which we should be sleeping and eight of which we are consumed with our work, leaving only eight mere hours for us to enjoy our personal lives. And more often than not, we have too many things on our to-do list, that we don’t end up enjoying even 5 minutes of those eight personal hours.
Now we know that our time each day is limited, so instead of managing our time, why don’t we manage our energy? If we are constantly utilizing all 16 non-sleeping hours of the day to complete tasks, we will eventually crash and have no energy to really do anything. And obviously we are going to be very upset with ourselves if that happens, as we will spend an entire day accomplishing nothing! Here are five tips to help you manage your energy instead of your time.
1. Schedule It
Ever since I was little, I’ve been making to-do lists of tasks needing to be completed for the day/week, but I’ve rarely actually ever scheduled them. I find now that if I schedule each task for a specific time, I accomplish them quicker, leaving more time for me to sit down and relax or spend time with friends and family. Also, schedule your breaks. You NEED fun activities to help keep you sane, so if there’s a yoga or photography class you’d love to attend, put it in your calendar. This will also help you remember that you need to take a few hours each day for yourself.
2. Double your break time
As a workaholic, I rarely take a break from working, studying or creating events and plans for my student organizations. When I actually do take a break, it is usually on for about an hour or less. But in reality, an hour isn’t even time to rest my brain for the next day. Doubling your breaks will help relax your body and give you ample time to find a new favorite television show to watch or book to read.
3. Enlist family and friends
If you schedule a break with only yourself, it’s very easy to bail and say, “I just need to skip my break tonight to finish this project.” But more often than not, if you skip one break, it will begin to become an habitual thing. So enlist your family and friends! They will ensure that you take the time to stop working and have fun with them.
4. Make a list of r&r benefits
Rest and relaxation may not seem like a priority to you when you have a large project due in a week’s time. But if you make a list of the benefits a little r&r time can provide your body and your brain, you’ll be amazed and much more willing to spend an hour or so on yourself each day. Breaks will help you come back to work feeling more refreshed, creative and cheerful, making you in an even better position to complete your work!
5. Break down your goals into chunks and reward yourself often
Sometimes we make goals that are simply way to large and take an immense amount of time to complete. The problem with this is that we feel as though we aren’t accomplishing anything because they are too long-term. Break up your goals into smaller chunks, so that you can see and track your work as you profess with your project. And reward yourself after you complete each smaller goal with an hour of “you” time, a favorite treat, a movie night with friends or whatever you feel would bring you the most joy.
So next time you start managing the number of hours you have in a day, think again. Managing your energy will make you a more creative and cheerful version of yourself. It will also allow you to truly enjoy every aspect of your life.