You only have a finite amount of energy in a day. Many people begin their day in a hurry, rushing from one thing to the next. They end up exhausted in the evening time, perhaps feeling like they haven’t done much of anything and wondering where the time went.
This is where more intentional use of energy comes in. We’re not necessarily talking about doing more. We’re talking about simplifying and focusing more of what actually matters and focusing less on what doesn’t matter. With greater awareness and intentional choices, we are able to maximize the amount of energy we have for the things we want to do each day.
Here are 5 ways to spend your energy more intentionally each day!
1) Realize you have a choice
The first step is in realizing you always have a choice in what you spend your energy on and how you go about it. Everything you do, think or say is an energy exchange you’re choosing.
How you spend your time is within your control even if it may not feel like it at times. Perhaps you have an important meeting at eight in the morning. You could view it as you “have to” be there at the meeting, however really, you’re making a choice. You realize the consequences of not going to the meeting and therefore you are choosing to go. Furthermore, you choose whether you wake up an hour before and rush to work or if you wake up earlier so you have time to eat breakfast and start your day in more centered way. Similarly, you also have the choice of what you prioritize, what you say, or how you react in any situation.
Additionally, there are multiple angles you can look at a situation. If your current perspective isn’t an empowering and productive view, realize you have the power to change it. Practice seeing opportunity and possibility even when you don’t initially see it. You may be surprised at what you begin seeing when you challenge your perspective to work more for your benefit.
2) Prioritize yourself
When it comes to managing your energy intentionally, it’s important to prioritize yourself. Unfortunately self-care is often the first to go when people start feeling strapped for energy or time. On the contrary, when you prioritize what makes you feel taken care of, you increase the energy reserves when you need it most. Keep in mind you’re better able to take care of others and do your best work when you’re taking care of yourself.
This includes the basics such as eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, and getting the amount of sleep your body needs. It also includes getting regular exercise every week. Balancing your relationships, the quality time you spend by yourself and with others, is also important in feeling at your best.
Additionally many people benefit from having a “routine” preferably in the morning before emails, surprises, or things inevitably come up in the day. This can be as simple as waking up earlier to start your day in a centered way with breakfast, coffee, a quick walk, workout, or meditation.
3) Add in Energy Chargers
It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re feeling low energy, however one of the best things to increase your energy is to add Energy Chargers into your day. These are activities that charge you up and fill you up with joy.
For some people, this is taking a walk, spending time with family or close friends, or reading a good book. Others find it in writing, knitting, singing or biking. Whatever it is for you, focusing on energy chargers can do wonders for your energy to do all the other things you choose to do in a day. You will likely find yourself rejuvenated and with renewed resolve to tackle the next items on your list.
4) Focus on what’s meaningful and take action today
We all have a list of things to do for the day at varying levels of energy cost. When you focus on what’s truly meaningful to you over the “urgent” but insignificant, you’ll find that your energy increases. All those errands and emails probably matter very little in the grand scheme of things. However, a personal important project or goal to you does matter in the long term. When you make meaningful progress towards what’s truly important to you, it results in greater energy and increased satisfaction.
Of course some balance is required. Sometimes you’ll choose the urgent little tasks because of the impact it will have if you don’t do it. However, whenever possible, it is to your benefit to choose what’s personally important to you.
The other key part is focusing on just what you can do for today. When it comes to worthwhile and meaningful goals, it often takes hard work over time to achieve. When you simply focus on a small step you are able to do today, you eliminate the energy drain that occurs when you think too far out or tackle something much too big to reasonably be done in a day.
5) Celebrate and acknowledge
Celebrating all the wonderful things you currently have in your life is one of the best ways to intentionally spend your energy in a productive manner. The act of noticing all the great things you normally might take for granted shifts your mindset into the positive and increases your energy reserves.
On a somewhat related note, whenever you accomplish something, whether big or small, take time to acknowledge its completion. Too many of us rush onto the next thing without giving ourselves credit for what we’ve done or we keep our focus on the things we haven’t done yet. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel unsatisfied and empty even when we’ve done a lot!
When you take these 5 tips into account when approaching your energy each day, you’ll become more intentional with your choices. In a future article, we’ll talk about specific strategies you can choose in how you talk, the positioning of your body, and more productive mindsets for maximum impact!