By Amanda Bucci
It’s not about making a better to-do list or finding slots in your calendar.
As an entrepreneur, social media influencer, and business mentor, I field hundreds of DMs, emails, and client questions every day. Being able to manage my time isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity for the survival of my business. I’ve learned that organization has less to do with making lists and putting things into my calendar. Instead, it has much more to do with energy.
Energy is a form of power. When it’s high, you feel like there’s no task you can’t tackle. When it’s low, you feel scattered, burnt out, and overwhelmed. Implementing an energy-management strategy in your life will help you channel more of your drive toward your work goals. Here’s how to focus less on filling slots in your calendar and more on filling yourself up with energy to get more done.
1. CLOSE LOOPS IN YOUR HEAD
Is there something you’ve had on your mind for weeks, months, or maybe even years that you haven’t completed? Maybe there’s a doctor’s appointment you never get around to scheduling or a package you still haven’t taken to the post office. That’s what’s called an “open loop”—and it quietly drains a lot of energy out of you by taking up space in your subconscious.
Instead of wasting effort by having your brain remind you of that thing you haven’t done, take an hour, day, or week to close the loop and do that thing. This year I decided to stop letting the thought of cleaning sap my energy. I just took a weekend to do it. As soon as I got rid of that clutter, I immediately felt an entire world of creativity open up inside of me.
2. MINIMIZE TASK SWITCHING
It takes a massive amount of energy to transition from making an engaging PowerPoint presentation to hopping on the phones with clients and then recording a video. To preserve your energy, focus on starting one “type” of task, and completing that type of task before moving onto the next.
You can even organize your schedule into “creator,” “coach,” and “CEO” days to keep the different types of energy contained. For me, I host my coaching calls on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons and save my creative work for the mornings. If I’m filming or recording a podcast, I’ll block off the time and even go to a hotel to get it done without distractions.
3. SELF-SOURCE YOUR ENERGY
Most of the time, we find ourselves energized when things “go right” in our lives. That is, we’re making good money, our relationship is good, and people compliment us on our successes. But when those things aren’t going well, we tend to let our circumstances “steal” our power, and as a result, our precious energy.
When we self-source our energy, we keep our power within our control. To do so, you need to carve out time to meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Self-sourcing energy can mean anything from going to the gym to having a good cry.
Last month, I had the misfortune of running a webinar that 3,000 people had registered for—but only 100 people could attend due to a technical glitch. I could feel the energy draining out of me once I realized things were going wrong, and the audience would be small. To self-source my energy, I catered to my emotions. I gave myself a solid five minutes to throw a massive, angry temper tantrum over what had happened. Then I took three deep breaths, reminded myself that this one event didn’t determine my fate, rallied my team, and moved forward—full of energy.
4. SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
When we say “yes” to something we really mean “no” to, we’re expending energy on something that’s draining. This causes an energy “leak” in our system, and we end up running low on fuel.
Learning to offer up a polite and respectful “no” to anything we don’t feel a “hell yes” for is one of the healthiest ways to support managing our energy.
5. DO A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX
When we’re staring at a beautiful lake, we feel incredibly peaceful. Why? Because there is very low “data input” coming into our brains—only a lake, a mountain, and the sky. When we’re always on our cellphones, our minds are bombarded by a lot more data than what we’re used to.
The solution: Minimize screen time, or do a social media detox. It will very likely remind you that you aren’t that busy. You just feel like you are, because your brain is working very hard—even when you’re mindlessly scrolling.
6. STOP OVERTHINKING, AND MAKE A DECISION
Should I go to the gym now or this afternoon? Should I post this on Instagram today or wait a few days? Should I wear the blue dress or the red one? The energy required to make a decision is another place where we leak energy.
Instead, create a routine and stick to it. Make a workout schedule, plan the days you post, and flip a coin for that outfit. By removing the decision of whether or not we’re going to do something, we remove energy leaks from our life. As a result, we can accomplish so much more with the time that we do have.
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This content was originally published by Fast Company. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Fast Company