When you’ve got a to-do list a mile long, a full week at work, social events to attend and dozens of family obligations, it can feel like there are never enough hours in the day to make time for yourself.
The daily grind can get exhausting and make it difficult to enjoy our lives — much less pursue our dreams — but what can we do about it? Work on our time management, right? Actually, there’s more to it than that.
Professional speaker and consultant Tina Hallis, Ph.D., explains that it’s not really the hours in the day that matter, but the way you manage your energy. Her mantra? Not all time is created equal.
“The amount of time is not equal to the value of that time,” says Tina. “If we push ourselves at work to make time to be with our family, but are too exhausted or frustrated to make it quality time, this time really has lower value. And if we don’t take time to recharge, we lose our focus and motivation, and it ends up taking more time to get things done.”
Four Quadrants of Energy
So, how can you get the most out of your energy? You’ll want to start by understanding the different kinds.
“There are four quadrants of energy,” explains Tina. “Each of them influences the other and when we can balance them, they synergize and maximize our results, health, happiness and well-being.”
Your physical energy directly influences how much energy you have in all quadrants. Get the most out of yours by not only making time for exercise and healthy eating, but doing simple things like taking a quick break to stand or walk for a few minutes every couple of hours and drinking water before you know you’re thirsty. Stay healthy and make sure you’ve got enough charge to get through every day.
How you feel each day influences the quality of energy you’ll have. Make sure to keep a healthy emotional energy level by choosing to notice the good over the bad in your day. Take a break if you find yourself getting too invested in something and practice deep breathing when you start getting upset. If you let little things get to you and forget to take a step back every once in a while, you’ll find it hard to get through that to-do list.
This is all about focus and our ability to pay attention to the tasks at hand. Many people say multitasking will help get things done faster, but it’s actually a drain on your mental energy and tends to slow you down. Focus on one thing at a time and you’ll find you’re more energized and in the moment — not to mention you’ll get more done!
This energy is directly influenced by your life’s passions. We all want to have a purpose in life, but if we ignore our dreams and passions, we lose our sense of self that gives us the energy we need to live a meaningful life. Take time to reflect upon your values and passions on a regular basis. Getting in touch with your inner dreamer will help give you the energy and happiness you need in life.
“When beginning to lead a more balanced life, start small,” says Tina. “Look at the different energies and consider where you have the biggest gap or imbalance. Pick one thing you can do differently and go from there.”
Once you’ve got a handle on balancing your energy quadrants, you may just find that there’s more time and happiness in each day. Take this time to pursue your dreams and live your best life.
Tips for Boosting Energy
Now that we’ve discussed the quadrants of energy and how each impact your daily life, you may be asking yourself — how can I boost my energy level? Great question! We’ve assembled some helpful tips to boost your energy naturally and keep you focused and productive at anything you aim to do. Let’s take a moment to talk about some!
Stress, while commonly known as a detriment to health overall, is especially problematic for energy levels. Try managing your stress levels by engaging in simple, healthy pleasures.
- Talk to friends or loved ones
- Engage in some kind of physical activity for 15-30 minutes a day
- Take a moment to relax and stretch
- Focus on meditative breathing exercises for a few minutes
Limit your workload
While it may seem easier said than done, reexamining your workload and picking out unnecessary tasks, stresses or obligations can lead to a great improvement in energy levels. Overworking yourself physically or mentally is a sure way to spend your much-needed energy quickly and inefficiently. Try some of the following tips for limiting workload:
- Make a to-do list and separate it into days of the week
- Create a priority list for your tasks based on highest priority to lowest
- Cut out unnecessary engagements with others during focus time
- Reserve time for yourself to step away and take a mental break
No matter how you tackle your workload, make sure you’re doing it with energy efficiency in mind. Keep your workload trim and lean, focusing only on the things that matter most.
Get your necessary sleep
Each person is different and, as such, each person’s sleep requirements will vary. Finding your perfect amount of sleep will require a bit of deprivation and experimentation. Harvard Health recommends the following steps for resetting your sleeping schedule.
- Avoid naps
- On night one, go to bed later than normal and aim for just four hours of sleep
- If you feel well rested, add another 15-30 minutes of sleep on night two
- Add on 15-30 minutes of sleep each night thereafter as long as you’re feeling rested each night
What this hopes to achieve is a reset to your sleeping habits. Doing this exercise will train you to achieve a more restful sleep each night, leaving you recharged for the next day.
Exercise can be cited as a benefit to almost any part of a person’s health, whether it’s stress, sleep or weight management. Exercise trains us to regulate our physical energy in more efficient ways and by exercising, we’re able to feel more awake during the day. Part of this can be attributed to the hormones we release by exercising that help us manage stress and other taxing factors to our day-to-day lives.
Try spending just 15 minutes a day exercising. Even a brisk walk will do!
Support for Your Dream Resources
Taking the time to self-reflect, recharge and refocus on your dreams is so important to helping you reach your bottom line! That's why we've put together a bunch of resources to help you along the way. Head to our self-improvement resource hub to learn ways you can invest in your best self and uncover a happier, healthier you.