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So I'm penning my next blog on a flight to Belgium. It's apt as this blog is sharing my secrets to getting it done:
- automate the what you can. I spent the weekend setting up new direct debits as we have new costs coming in, but I will not have the time to manually deal with these. Automating them saves 30-60 mins of my weekend.
- food shop online. Food shopping online is the greatest saving in time with the kids it can easily eat up 2hrs, and we have to time the shopping trip with the feeds. Ordering online has such a wide potential. For example, in Switzerland there are only really 2 major online brands but the local farms deliver a wide variety of vegetables, meat and products. I switched to the local farm for my order, which is organic and cheaper!
- catch the train or public transport. I catch the train into work which gives me time to complete assignments, blog and business tasks. Theoretically the car is 35 minutes in no traffic but my route is notorious for traffic. So even though it's 69 minutes by train it's 69 minutes I use. Gives approx. 1 hour on your day depending on your journey.
- take a packed lunch. I am not too sure if a packed lunch suddenly became uncool after breaking up from school, but the nutritional food I make at home beats any Canteen. If you take a packed lunch you save time in getting food that you could spend on activities that increase your energy. Saves you 50 minutes a day (minus the 10 minutes to make it)
- Meditate or activate your cells at lunchtime. If you have taken food in it does not take long to eat. If you can do the activity you love 3 times a week it keeps your energy levels up which means that you have more hours in the day, because you are not just wanting to fall into your bed when you get home. It is of course important to spend time with colleagues as well socially; the networking and lunch conversations are very valuable. Poses like half tortoise for example stimulate high relaxation re-oxygenating the brain. It allows me to be up at 5.00 and go through until 21.00/22.00 on average boosting my energy about 1 hr a day.
- get up early if you can negotiate to get in early and leave early you have more productive hours in the day. I get in early so my day can finish at 15.00. This gives me at least 6 hours a day before I go to bed.
- what you eat can determine your energy levels. Sugar, processed food and white carbohydrates can suck energy. I work on a largely Paleo diet of organic meats, vegetables and fruit. This can give you extra energy and focus of between 1-3 hrs a day.
Indeed if you are catching a flight like I am now you could be either sleeping or working.
1. Sleeping could mean you are taking down time, but more likely you are so knackered zapped of energy and you are constantly trying to catch up with things that as soon as you go to sit down you fell a sleep.
2. You could be working because you are so busy and there are not enough hours in the day for you to get work done because you are constantly trying to catch up with tasks.
3. You could be reading, writing a blog, doing something for your or work and feel you are on top of your work.
4. You could be sleeping and you're on top of everything.
Answers 1 and 2 may have remedies in this article.
We were away for the last 4 days, and after: catching up with friends, clearing my house, a birthday bash, compact shopping trip and a wedding; today I am tired. My best friend messaged me this morning, after I had told her that my daughter managed to get herself onto the top table at the wedding where she enjoyed chocolate cake, and just wanted to stay up all night dancing.
My best friend replied “Have an afternoon nap she has so much energy as she is your child!! We were just saying yesterday don’t know how you have so much energy!!”
Well I have not had a nap as yet. I’m too busy, but I am reflecting on energy. While it may be she gets her energy gene from me there are also other elements.
- Go for what you want no fear. She went for what she wanted and succeeded with no fear. It was quite simple she saw people she liked on the top table, as well as a huge piece of chocolate cake. The actual input involved to get it was not over thought. She did not use up her energy over analysing a process; she just went for it. I see lots of people overthinking instead of going for it, which doubles the energy required. Granted some thought and information is needed on important decisions but often your gut is the ultimate decision maker.
- Do what you love. We all hear that so many times, but she was having so much fun dancing, it did not matter that it was 4 hours past her bedtime. I see lots of people unhappy in their work, it is important to find something that makes you smile. For some in the current recession it is not possible in their work life. However at least explore the possibility in your personal life.
- Play with your friends. She is full of beans today at nursery surrounded by people that she enjoys being with. The people that you work with can give you energy, a buzz and reason to go in every day. It is important to find a good cultural fit at work. This is true in your personal life too.
How do we better manage our energy in an increasingly busy and hectic world. There are more rules and regulations in our society which means we have to complete taxes, forms, censuses. Technology has advanced and enhanced our lives in so many ways, and at the same time we increasingly have more email and messages to deal with. Kids are great (I Love Mine), and we stretch our time between kids, family and friends. These are just some of the challenges of modern day life. So what do we do:
1. De - Clutter
I am reading a lot currently on mindfulness. It interests me, but intrigues me as there is never just a one size fits all. For some people it may be best to focus on one thing and do it well, for others it may be two or three. My number is five if I ever take on more than five it does not work. My five are : Husband, Children, Work whatifpa, Learning (Doctorate) and Yoga. Sometimes people do amazing things multi-tasking. This may be an unpopular thought in the current trend of mindfulness. However, just look at the true story of Erin Brockovich she took on a Goliath of a lawsuit. Yes she went through challenges as she was stretched between her children, her partner and her career; but what a difference she made!
I had to remove other things from my life because they over zapped my energy. So sit down and write a list of everything that you do, and include things like your friends or your husband if you are married; after all they are important. Then think about what is really important to you. What ever is not important drop it. It is not a failure to lose it, and in fact can turn into a positive. When I dropped being Netball captain I had done my turn for 2 years, and moving on left space for another person to breath their ideas and more energy into what is now a flourishing club. Refine your list until you have what you feel is balance.
2. Your World
Do not live in constant comparison to anyone else. This is a waste of energy. It does not matter what anyone else does, says or thinks. This should not be mistaken for arrogance, but the point is if people are looking for constant gratification from others it only zaps energy. Everyone has flaws, issues and problems. Just deal with what you can affect.
I practice yoga regularly because of it's restorative properties. There is no best form of exercise. The secret is to pick something that you love and want to do without having to battle to build up motivation to practice. I love Tony Sanchez's Yoga because with 2 children I can do it from home, and fit it around my busy schedule.
Speak to people that can be your friends, or your family if you are feeling affected by an issue. Bottling up worries or concerns can drain you.
Outsource chores like cleaning or gardening if you can, so you have the energy to do the things you love.
6. Utilise Technology
Utilise technology to simplify your life, get things done quickly and surround yourself with the people who give you energy. For example, I love online shopping as it reduces the time I have to spend going around the shops and takes minutes compared to hours. Long gone are the days when I would spend the whole day "down town shopping." Now I am happy to be in a nice pub garden where I can do the 11.00am feed for my son, and my daughter can run around playing. When I do have to go to the shops on the weekend the baby sick, inadequate changing facilities and the difficulty of actually trying clothes on with a toddler is not something that I miss.