Let’s face it, we all have the same 24 hours a day no matter how much we may wish there were a few more! To make matters worse, out of that 24 hours, certain hours are non-negotiable activities such as sleeping. I mean, we all need sleep right? This leaves us with even fewer hours to complete the endless list of tasks that we need to prioritise.
In order to get the most out of whatever time is left after sleeping, eating and other non-negotiable matters, we need to have A PLAN. You might be thinking, not another time management article. We all know that we need to manage time and no matter how much we promise ourselves that we are going to do it, it almost never happens. Which is why I want to focus on energy management and prioritising tasks.
Let me walk you through a common scenario
You work full time and you are planning to start a side hustle to increase your income. You promise yourself every day that after you come back from work, you will sit down and start working on your projects. Unfortunately, that almost never happens because when you come back from work you are always “too tired”.
What’s the issue?
The issues could be:
1) You don’t want it bad enough; or
2) You are too tired in the evenings due to poor health habits.
What’s the fix?
If it is #1 then, simply drop the project. Focus your energy on things that you want, instead of prioritising things you “sort of” want and then feeling bad for not doing them. By repeating this pattern, you are stealing your own energy away from yourself. Be more honest with yourself.
On the other hand, if you really do want to do the project but struggle to find the energy to follow through, there could be a lot of different reasons for this : you’re not getting enough sleep, your diet is poor, you are not exercising enough, you are not prioritising tasks properly and as a result you are getting lost in too much data, and many more. It’s best if you carry out an honest audit of yourself and identify the cause for your lack of energy for pursuing your goals. You really need to fix that before anything else.
Here are a few simple solutions to manage your energy better so that you can be more effective with your time:
Hit the gym, go to a yoga class, go for a run or simply power walk for 20 minutes – whatever suits you. The idea is simply to get your heartbeat to rise and get your blood flowing in your body. Choose an activity that is simple and that you can stick to and which will easily integrate with your current schedule and do it consistently. You will see an increase in your overall energy over time.
Make sleep a priority
If you don’t prioritise sleep, it is more likely than not that you will never get enough sleep. Something will ALWAYS come up that will keep you staring at your computer screen or mobile phone at 1 am. So just cut out the non-sense and take a solid effort to go to sleep at a reasonable time which will give you at least 8 hours of sleep. This means no looking at your phone last thing at night in bed!
Go easy on yourself. Just promise yourself that you will do a very tiny portion of the entire work in one evening and follow through. That’s it. Maybe just 5% of the work instead of the very ambitious 50% that you always aim for. This will reorient your brain to thinking that you can easily accomplish this and will impact your motivation positively. You may actually end up doing 10% instead of the 5% that you set out to do initially. This is much better than promising yourself 50% and then accomplishing absolutely zero amount of work.
Work in a group
Find other people who may be going through similar hurdles as you. There are lots of accountability groups out there that you can join. This will help motivate and energise you. I have a membership group that I run where we keep members accountable, which you are more than welcome to check out!
Sometimes, we spend lots of time on useless tasks that does not add much value to our lives. This takes our energy away from tasks that really does matter and can improve our lives. The Eisenhower Matrix is a good way of filtering through tasks and prioritising them.
- If something is urgent and important then DO IT NOW.
- If something is urgent and not important then TRY TO GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT.
- If something is not urgent but important then PLAN FOR IT LATER AND FOLLOW THROUGH.
- If something is not urgent and not important then ask yourself – WHY AM I DOING IT? CAN I DELETE IT?