As business owners, we’re tugged in a hundred different directions all hours of the day. It’s no wonder so many of us reach burnout and fatigue before we ever get to share our full potential with the world. My heart hurts just thinking of the brilliant businesses that had to be put on indefinite hold because the runners of those businesses were run into the ground.
That doesn’t have to be your story, friend. In fact, there are so many ways to preserve and protect your energy for the things that light you up the most! These 4 tangible techniques for managing energy are a good start to taking back your time, starting now.
SET A TIMER
Some days it feels like you’re Superwoman, right? You get it all done and then some, and even make it to the store and cook a healthy at-home dinner. But it’s also natural to hit snags in productivity and lulls in motivation. Not every day is a knockout, especially as we balance things like kids, work, business building, relationships, home life — oh, and having a fun margarita night with your husband or girlfriends occasionally, too!
When I feel my focus dwindling, I know it’s because I’m not being as intentional as possible with my time. Time is our most massive commodity, and while the idea of wasting it seriously pains me, I also know rest and breaks are V important. In fact, rest and breaks are the opposite of wasting time. They’re the real-deal energy preservers and efficiency boosters.
You are only at your peak performance for about 90 minutes at a time. Did you know that?! You might feel yourself wanting to push past that amount of time, like probably every time, but you’ll never be quite as productive or focused if you break that limit. Set a timer (for real — I just use my phone’s timer), get rid of any distractions, and get to work for 1.5 hours.
After your 90 minutes are up, take some time to move around, change your scenery, regroup, rest, or reenergize. Go for a short walk for some fresh air, or do a few stretches to get your blood moving before sitting back down to crank out another 90.
SAY NO TO DECISIONS
Okay, obviously we’re going to always have to make decisions. But the little ones (When should I workout? What should I have for lunch? When will I have time to clean the house? What should I wear today?) shouldn’t be daily challenges that you spend a lot of cumulative time and energy figuring out.
Make your small, day-to-day decisions as easy as possible by finding and planning out your solutions ahead of time. You can remove them as decisions by creating processes that are really easy (and WAY less stressful) to maintain! Try working some of these ideas into your weekly programming:
- Schedule a few workout classes throughout the week at a time that you actually like working out (so that you’ll want to go and follow through), and put it in your calendar like you would a business meeting. If you’re not a 6 a.m. bootcamp kinda gal, maybe go for a nice evening candlelit yoga.
- Meal prep a few simple things at the beginning of the week, like cooking some chicken, making a batch of wild rice, and chopping up some veggies for easy salads or Buddha bowls. Get you some pretzels, nuts, hummus, and dried fruit so you have nourishing snacks to grab on the go.
- Just like your workouts, schedule any of your household obligations into your calendar and prioritize them like you would a professional responsibility. YOU will feel so much better when you create a habit and Thursdays after work at 6 p.m. are your time to dust, vacuum, or do laundry. And if you find yourself dreading these things — outsource! Hire someone to help, so you can focus on the things that really matter to you. There is NO weakness in bringing in an extra set of helping hands.
- Play with a capsule wardrobe. Y’all know I live in yoga pants, so we keep things pretty minimalistic over here when it comes to fashion. But if you actually get dressed every day (praise hands to you, pal), consider capsulizing your closet. Generally, you pick about 8 simple tops, bottoms, outerwear pieces, a dress or two, and about 7 pairs of shoes to mix, match, and wear on the reg. It’s a way to simplify the dreaded “I have nothing to wear” that I think all of us say once or twice… a week.
SAY YES TO SYSTEMS
There are some truly mind-blowing business systems and automation tools out there that can tighten up your business processes into a well-oiled machine. But, you know, with heart and soul and all that other good stuff. Smart systems will take common problems that you deal with in your business and remove the thought or effort behind maintaining or fixing those problems.
Basically, all that junk that you don’t have the time or want to deal with? You can probably build a system around it to run on its own, or with very little oversight. Pretty awesome, right? Identify the issues you deal with regularly or that take up a lot of your time (invoicing, tax prep, or even posting on social media), and plan a process that solves the problem in the quickest way.
Do a quick Google search for any tools that may be available for your problem at hand — I know for social media alone, there are hundreds of scheduling and streamlining platforms that you can use to batch and plan content. The biggest part of implementing systems and automation is executing your plan and sticking to it. Sometimes, setting them up is heavy work on the front-end, but going forward, they’ll save you oodles of time and help you avoid unnecessary stress and frustration.
TUNE INTO WHAT FUELS YOU
What are the things in your business that absolutely light you up? Maybe it’s interacting with your customers or clients. It could be creating new products, writing your website content, or coming up with extra-creative ways to market your biz and get it out for the world to see.
Whatever brings you most joy and energy in your business, find ways to spend most of your time working on that. Now, this could mean a few things. After all, we only have so many hours in a day, and the stuff we don’t enjoy doing still has to get done.
For those tasks that always get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list (you know what I’m talkin’ about), ask yourself what you can delegate, automate, delay, or delete. This might entail hiring a part-time virtual assistant to handle invoicing or email drafting. It could also mean looking into unique systems (check out that tip up above one more time!), or putting things off that aren’t true priorities right this minute.
You may also find there are some things you really DON’T need to be doing. How much traffic are you really getting from posting on Twitter or printing out fliers? Evaluate what isn’t working and pivot. The tasks that are draining and energy-sucking can really be handed off or just totally crossed off, in some cases. When you focus on what fuels you the most, your business will flourish. There you have it, four energy management tips for entrepreneurs. Tell me, do you have more to add to the list?