The secret to finding more free time is in energy management

Parenting and relationship expert Karyn Gordon shows us why energy management is more important than time management.

Woman sitting in cafe

Photo, Norman Jean Roy/ TrunkArchive.

If you were granted one wish, I bet you’d ask for more hours in the day. Am I right, or am I right? And while it’s true we don’t have genie powers to add precious minutes to our busy schedules, we can learn powerful techniques to make it seem like we just expanded the clock to a 27-hour day! It all starts with understanding that energy management is so much more important than time management. Let me explain.

Time is finite, energy is not. This is an important distinction, because in life there are things that energize us (like having a clean house or hanging out with friends) and things that de-energize us (like conflict, clutter, running errands).

Depending on what we do (and don’t do) every day, our “emotional-energy battery” gets recharged or depleted. When we do things that energize us, it’s like plugging our battery into a charger; it changes our mood (we feel happier and more relaxed), but it also increases our vitality levels. And that means we can get more done in less time.

My two-step plan to improve your energy management

1. Write down your own personal “energy battery” mission statement.
Make a list of things that recharge you and things that deplete you. Keep this list in one place (maybe a note on your smartphone, in a digital file or in a plain old paper journal), so you can refer to it often — and change it as necessary. If you’re not sure how to start, just think of the things you love and hate to do most in life. Common energy rechargers include spending time with friends, sleeping in, eating well, exercising, doing a favourite hobby, reading, having a clean home, crossing things off your to-do list. The most common drainers include working too much, sleeping too little, eating poorly, unresolved conflicts, unfinished jobs, messiness at work or home.

2. Prioritize your top three energizers.
Now look over your list and circle your top three energy rechargers — these are your must-haves. When planning your week, slot these in first: say, a workout on Tuesday, lunch with your bestie on Thursday, a long walk with the kids on Saturday. Pledge to yourself, your boss and your family that these commitments are absolutely non-negotiable. Do you need to delegate some jobs to family members to create the time for your energy boosters? Then do it. Do you need to find a running partner or a great babysitter? Book one. Once you take care of your must-haves, your energy will instantly increase, your mood will be lighter and you’ll get everything done more effectively and efficiently — in fact, it will feel like you scored more hours in the day, no genie required!

Follow the jump for more advice from Karyn Gordon

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