Managing Your Energy

I’ve come off a 6-day work week (#entrepreneurlife) which included two and a half days training, plus my daily work (which is flat out) as well as coaching clients. I’ve been hustling. It’s been a big week with more training than I’ve ever done and for those of you who’ve never stood in front of a room, for some it’s extremely exhausting. Teachers, I take my hat off to you! You’re ‘on’ all the time and energetically you’re constantly giving. However, it’s thoroughly rewarding at the same time.

At the end of the 6th day I got to bed early, slept right through (this hasn’t happened a lot lately), I slept in a little and woke up feeling pretty much back to normal. I had the plan to do nothing and then realised I needed to go to our local shopping centre to pick up a birthday present. That’s ok, it wouldn’t take long. I’d be in and out in no time. Then I wanted to do my usual café run and do some relaxing, ‘fun’ work.

I felt great until I got into the shopping centre. Surrounded by people and having to look for a birthday present it dawned on me just how weighted down I felt and tired I am. I got out of there as soon as possible and at the café, I looked at my week of commitments. Somewhat back to ‘normal’ with a big week in my main role, catching up with friends (one of whom I’ve bailed on three times already so I can’t reschedule again), more coaching clients and a weekend of more social events I don’t feel I can get out of.

Two immediate thoughts –

  1. Since when am I the type of person who dreads social events?

  2. When will I get a chance to come up for air?

  3. 3 take-aways from this experience.

1. It’s my diary – it’s my responsibility to manage it. If that means scheduling ‘down time’ so I can claim I’m ‘busy’ when people ask me if I want to catch-up, so be it.

My first failing – I’m the one who scheduled in these social events. As an entrepreneur, prioritising tasks is important. It’s amazing when you make the leap into your own business how quickly your task priorities change. The tasks that I used to pride myself on and enabled me to manage everything – being thorough, being organised, being systemised and process driven, all went out the window. It’s become about what will make me my next bit of income while doing the things I love. Not about putting things in the right folders on my computer.

In terms of social events, working for myself gets lonely. There are a lot of people I speak with in my day but it’s not the same as an office environment or being part of a workforce. While there are co-working spaces I could join, I’m not quite ready for that. So my social life has become important. Yes, actually a priority. This week I may have over-extended myself and my social life is certainly something I need to schedule in for my sanity.

Down-time is also something I need to schedule in. I know people joke about scheduling in sexy time with their partners and I’m starting to see why.. although I’m not quite there yet either. Lesson 1: schedule more ‘me’ time. Put it in the diary so it’s there, scheduled and then I’ll be able to prioritise it.

2. Don’t commit to social events I either don’t want to go to or when I have too many already

Balance is necessary. Lately I’ve been working hard on accountability and honesty. What I mean by this is when I don’t want to do something or I need to say ‘no’, not blaming something else or coming up with a terrible excuse to get me out of it. The struggle with this is the balance between social protocol and acceptance, and dominant personality traits. I recently had an Extended DISC analysis session with a client and she thought her reluctance to have assertive conversations stems from being female and therefore raised to be polite. I actually think it’s about her behavioural profile because I’m all about assertive conversations but I’m not very liked in the process.

After a little while in coaching, ‘luck’ fell out of my vocabulary. I’m not sure I believe in luck. I also object to women saying ‘it was just luck’ or ‘I’m lucky’ when they’ve worked hard to achieve something. I have a friend who’s worked her backside off to save money to give herself 12 months off. She used the word ‘lucky’ for what I believe to be social acceptance. I don’t think she was ‘lucky’. She’s worked so hard and deserves that.

This is still the balance beam I’m walking – taking credit for what I’ve done humbly; to own my decisions even if it may upset people; and to respect my energy centres and not overcommit.

3. Sadly, I’m not as young as I used to be

Whether it’s age, entrepreneurialism or that I just have a lot more going on than ever before, my recovery time is taking longer than I’m used to. So my planning’s all off. Ironically this is applicable to hangovers as well. I used to bounce back. A day or so plus a good night sleep and I was right as rain. Now, it takes a few days. I’m not sure of the precise amount of time yet or the formula and to figure it out, I need to take myself away and recoup.

My energy has also changed because for the past 18 months, I’ve been in a proper, amazing, adult relationship. We’re now living together and I find my introvert comes out a lot more often. By this I mean I need to isolate myself and have total alone time to recover my energy. This is mainly when I’m absolutely exhausted. I also know that when I’m a little tired, my extrovert needs people to re-energise. Which are you – more introverted or extroverted?

So what do you need? How do you recover and show yourself love? A warm bubble bath? A massage? Curling up with a cup of tea and reading a book? Dinner with friends or family? What’s the one thing you do for yourself that doesn’t take any kind of energy from you, or ‘work’?

The Passion Planner is a great way to help get organised and focus on what gives me energy (versus sucking it). Check it out here.

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