Updated: May 19
Are we spending our energy in a way that works for us or are we just throwing it away and using up tomorrow's fund as well?
When I say 'energy', I'm not referring to Derek Acorah out looking for ghostly like energies in an old castle. I mean the kind that are described as 'vibes' and energy levels- like a human version of your phone battery, 'having the energy to do things'.
We wake up with a set amount of physical and mental energy and we spend it on tasks throughout the day; washing up, getting dressed, replying to emails etc - the really fun stuff.
I want to look into how we spend our daily allowance, how we can work on getting more energy from doing what we love and how we can ultimately show up with a better 'vibe' for work and life in general.
Being busy and identifying the busy jobs
Appearing like you're working hard can sometimes be as exhausting as actually working hard. If the love isn't there for that task, it can drain your energy resources very quickly. Also you could be spending that time doing something that's actually productive and meaningful to you. No matter how hard you try, having a coffee and a nice notebook on your desk doesn't mean you're productive or being busy - trust me, i've tried this theory many times.
If you think of it as starting the week with a full bar of battery, we then go about spending our energy on things. If we get into energy debt then we start to use up tomorrow's energy too until at the end of the week, we're knackered, not as enthusiastic and lacking the energy funds to properly enjoy what's going on around us.
Think about how you currently show up for yourself, your business, your job, your family etc and how you'd like to feel in those situations. If you're shattered and exhausted or even panicked and desperate, have a look at the tasks you're doing and spending your energy on, what can you start to change or cut out altogether.
'Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.' - Derek Sivers.
Energy Tin Bucket
A slightly more long term way of looking at energy levels is the 'Tin Bucket Self Care' approach. By thinking of your energy levels as water in a tin bucket. First of all, what can you do to plug any holes in the bucket to stop your watery energy from pouring out? Or even just reduce the flow- how can you plug the hole up. Secondly, think about what can you do to fill the bucket back up.
If social media is draining your bucket, can you set time limits, uninstall the app or make it more difficult to log in - to reduce the flow. To completely plug the gap, can you log off and replace it with something that fills you with inspiration instead? Other things like relationships can damage the bucket too, setting better boundaries with someone who's draining your bucket can reduce the flow where as taking a step away and reducing communication with that person can plug the hole.
Even thinking about your energy in terms of money instead. What are you happy to spend a couple of quids worth of energy on and what would you rather not give your money to?
Do fewer things but do the right things and do them well.
Making a list of everything you do for your work or just for life in general throughout the day can be quite surprising. Once you're faced with every single task, you can see quickly what drains you and what fills you back up. If you're spending your energy flicking through tabs on your internet browser or constantly at the call to your emails, what can you do to limit that energy spending? Close the tabs? Limit yourself to checking emails twice a day? Are you the kind of person who works well with a deadline, can you set a deadline for a task so you're not spending all week mulling it over and overthinking it? Get the job done, sent, finished, back to the fun stuff.
If you work for yourself, can you cut things out altogether and find a new approach? I'm currently experimenting with digital detox and a social media ban to reduce the energy from flowing out of my bucket, I'm looking into some new marketing techniques to fill my bucket back up. I've also chosen three simple tasks; a monthly blog post, a monthly newsletter and a daily drawing journal. The goal is to just do those things well and to stop wasting energy on other little tasks that are just busy work. So far, I'm showing up better for these projects and it's reflected in the response I get from you as the reader. Thank you for your responses!
When was the last time you stopped the busy work and had a closer look at what you're peddling along with? Have you found any processes, analogies or methods that remind you to reduce or change your work load?
If you have a friend who might enjoy this kind of discussion, feel free to share this with them or if you have any thoughts on this subject please do leave a comment or drop me an email. To keep up with the latest blog posts, join my monthly round up here.
More interesting finds:
Burn out & Drawing as Salvation blog by Emma Carlisle
The Spoon Theory article by Christine Miserandino. Energy levels when you have a chronic illness or suffer from Fatigue.
Kate Spencer's Life With Soul podcast - more about the tin bucket analogy
Benefits Of Creating Slower blog by Elin Loow