• Yes Get It

Why managing your energy is a form of self-care

At Yes Get It, we think of self-care as regular activities and practices to maintain health, wellbeing and resilience. Things you do to feel happy, healthy and truly like yourself. They don’t need to be big, extravagant or expensive. In fact, it’s often the small things you do each day or each week that really make the difference. Reading is one thing I do every day that helps me feel like myself.

To feel satisfied and be productive, humans have core needs that need to be met. I think of self-care as the putting in place habits and rituals to meet these core needs.

What does it mean to manage your energy, not your time? Something for the research nerds

One approach is to manage your energy, not your time. Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy from The Energy Project shared this research-backed approach (“Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time”) in the Harvard Business Review. This has been pretty revolutionary for me. Time is finite. However, if I manage my energy, I can do the things I want and not feel totally exhausted at the end.

What does this mean in everyday life? There are four areas to focus on to manage your energy.

1. Your physical energy

It’s not news that good nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest are important to maintain your energy, manage emotions and focus attention.

TL;DR: What can you do?

· Take breaks, especially when doing work. You’ve earned it! Breaks increases your focus, ability to think creatively and boosts your health and wellbeing.

· Try the Pomodoro technique (essentially working in 25 minute sprints with breaks in between).

· In your breaks, move your body in a different way (go for a walk, stretch or dance to a song).

· Eat when your body needs to eat, but listen when it needs to stop. Try mindful eating for a week to see how that impacts you.

2. Your emotional energy

Your emotions can hugely impact your energy and ability to look after yourself and others.

TL;DR: What can you do?

· Buy yourself time to get your emotions in check, especially if you’re feeling strong emotions. Try deep abdominal breathing (i.e.: Breathing in for 5-6 seconds and out slowly for 5-6 seconds). This induces relaxation and recovery, and turns off the flight or fight response.

· Show appreciation for others – it makes both you and the other person feel great!

· Show appreciation for yourself. Seriously, take time to give yourself credit when you’ve been awesome.

3. Your mind (focus of energy)

Distractions are an energy drainer. Distractions that cause you to shift attention from one focus to another (like replying to an email, call, or chat message in the middle of another task) cost you. It increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by 25%.

TL;DR: What can I do?

Set yourself up to focus in an absorbed way on your most important tasks.

· Ask yourself, how does that work for you? Some ideas including spending 5-10 minutes prioritizing at the start of your day, blocking out ‘focus’ time like you would a meeting or turning off notifications when focusing on a task.

· Focus systematically on activities that are important long-term for you (not just what’s most urgent to someone else)

4. Your spirit (energy of meaning and purpose)

Doing more of what you do best and enjoy most, and feeling connected to a higher purpose can hugely boost your energy and enjoyment. Does your dog bring you lots of joy? Think about a way to spend more quality time with them.

TL;DR: What can I do?

Reflect on these questions in the space of a few days:

· What are you good at and enjoy most?

· Can you move things around to spend more time in the areas of life that are most important to you?

· How can you live your core values in your daily behaviours?

Wrap Up

Taking the time to reflect on what gives you energy is absolutely worth it. Daily rituals and habits that allow you to manage your energy, not your time, can be a powerful way to approach your day.

You've got this,


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