Is Your Energy Budget Balanced?
Time is money, right? Well so is your energy. As a success coach for C-suite executives, I find that everyone I talk to wishes they had more time and more energy to get more done. They complain of waking up exhausted, dreading the day ahead and wondering how to get it all done. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, anxious and weary, your saving grace may be a well-maintained energy budget. This new habit will keep you feeling more balanced, calmer and will improve your overall health.
Energy-in must equal energy-out in any given week to keep us feeling happy, healthy and productive. Think of it like a bank account for energy. You only have a finite amount to spend each week before you’re tapped out. If you make too many withdrawals each week you’re going to find yourself in debt, otherwise known as burnout. This leaves you feeling fatigued, mentally exhausted and devoid of motivation.
You must find ways of consistently restoring your energy by making deposits into your energy account before you start spending energy the next week. Otherwise, you’ll be running on empty.
Balance Your Energy Budget
First, review your Energy Budget. Write down all of the necessary actions that need your attention each week – eg, work, family and other vital responsibilities. Now, write down the areas of your life where you are spending time and energy that are less vital. Then identify three or more activities where you could pull back a bit to regain that equilibrium. For example, can you reduce the number of social events or time spent with people or activities that drain you? Does something seem urgent, but can wait till tomorrow or even next week? Finding these little spaces to regain time and energy is vital to our overall health.
Then list the things that restore and recharge you. Sleep is the most obvious way we recharge. However, there are important activities that may take energy but also replenish, like exercise, meditation, recreational reading, hobbies and other cathartic activities which allow you to release tension as well as relaxing activities that allow you to restore and rejuvenate.
Once you assess your energy budget you will notice if there are extraneous activities unnecessarily draining you of resources. It’s time to stop engaging in toxic activities and spending time with people that drain you of your energy. It’s time to stop doing too much. We need to flip the script on what success means. Success does not have to be synonymous with exhaustion. It’s time to take your control back.
Start by being conscious of how you’re feeling in each moment— Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Then begin asking the following questions: Does this give me joy, peace or calm? Is this causing me to feel stressed or unhappy? If the answer is the latter it’s probably time to cut this activity out of the budget.
You may have to cut people out of your budget as well. Someone’s bad mood can rub off on you and cause you to spend precious energy you can’t afford to waste. If you’re taking the time to find your way to happiness, then you have a right to choose how and with whom you want to spend your time.
“It’s time to take your control back.” - Zahra Karsan
Many people feel obligated to family members or old friends which requires a lot of us. If there’s an activity, social scene or a person that makes you feel drained, just notice it for now. Understand, you get to choose how much time and energy you give away.
Start to draw healthy boundaries to remove yourself or to minimize the time spent in situations that could otherwise be draining or negative. Take note of 3 things you could do to bring more joy, more peace, more relaxation, and more fun into your week. Take note of 3 things you can do to recharge and replenish your energy stores throughout the week.
Just like when you make time to do a spring cleaning of your house or closet, it’s time to really examine your life and ask yourself what brings you joy and what is just taking up space? Draw healthy boundaries so you have enough time to look after yourself and those that matter most. Again, know that you absolutely have the right to choose the people and activities in your life. Choosing to spend time in situations that leave you feeling uplifted will strengthen your ability to stay in a state of calm and will give you greater energy.
Remember, energy-in must equal energy-out. If you can balance your energy budget, you balance your life.