We’ve all been there. It’s the end of a crazy week and if you’re honest, you have nothing left to give. The to-do list still feels as if it is miles long, yet there’s not an ounce of will within you to accomplish it. We’ve all been there. As a solo entrepreneur, there is one valuable lesson that I’ve learned this year. It is simply- there is a difference between maintaining your time and maintaining your energy.
When it comes to the daily tasks of running a business, it’s easy for me to stay on top of things. Whether it’s managing invoices, responding to emails, or staying on top of deadlines, my time is allocated appropriately. However, when it comes to maintaining energy, there’s a whole other side to the equation. Over the past few months, I’ve been the creative lead on multiple events for various clients. This means managing tasks prior to the event, setup, tear down, and engaging with those who come to the event, making them feel loved, known, and hosted well. In previous months, after tasks and setup, I wouldn’t have much left to give. Much like a deflated balloon, all I wanted to do was rest by the time the event began.
When it comes to leadership, self-care and fun aren’t cute ideas. They’re necessary, providing the refuel needed to make it through long days and to host others well. While I love a good spa appointment, self-care is more than pampering. It’s providing your soul with the very thing it craves. For me this means quiet and study in the morning, and getting back to the gym. The last thing I want to do is workout when I’m tired. Yet when I’m not active I don’t feel my best, plain and simple.
Lack of sleep is considered a badge of honor in life. Can I tell you something? If you don’t get 8 hours, your body is missing an essential ingredient. Ditch the caffeine jolts all day and make sure you get the needed rest your body desires. (This probably means putting the blue light and screens down for a bit, and shutting off a show an hour earlier.)
Ever get so busy with tasks you forget to eat throughout your day? We’ve been there. Make sure you’re giving your body the energy it needs through nutrition. A favorite tip- make smoothies ahead. Simply place your ingredients in a jar, remove the lid, attach the blender blade, screw on, and your breakfast is ready to go in 2 minutes flat. For the weeks where I don’t have time to meal prep, I head to the deli section at Trader Joe’s and stock up on salads. I can grab lunches for the week for around $20 and know I’ll be giving my body good stuff. Still feeling a little slow? Grab a fresh-squeezed juice for essential nutrients for an extra boost.
Some tasks in your life are areas where you thrive. Still others are more challenging, taking far more out of you. For me, I love visionary projects and seeing strategic plans come to life. However, once I’m in the thick of an ongoing project my energy has gone somewhat dry. While I love my consulting clients, I have to strategically schedule them in my day to make sure I can maintain energy to get other things accomplished.
Your influence, the demands on your time, and the level of responsibility typically looks different every 6 months. Your business will have different seasonal demands as will the rest of your life. However, our typical response? We often times apply the same tools to growth and self-improvement from a previous season and are surprised when it doesn’t work. Take an intentional look at your habits and self-care routine every six months. Identify what isn’t working and what needs a refresh. Any practices that need to be added? Any that need to be removed. Give yourself grace and embrace the rhythm of seasons.
The same can be said for your to-do list. Ever have tasks on a to-do list that can’t seem to get marked off? Then you revisit your to-do list (particularly those with long-term goals) and wonder why you can’t get them accomplished? Your energy and what you were going after was different when you wrote the list. As you look at this list and each line, feelings of overwhelm, defeat, and anxiety begin to creep in. When this happens, realize your energy at the time of writing the list is largely different than where you are now. Then ask yourself, what do I want to do? What am I excited about? Where do I have passion and energy now? Begin to move in that direction.
How do you distinguish the difference between maintaining time and maintaining energy? Any additional tips you’d like to share?