How many of you have said or thought one of these things: I’m tired all the time. I really need sleep. I’ve tried that before, but I have too much going on. I’m not a morning person. I’m already an early riser. I’m not sure I can wake up that early.
SCWIST recently had the pleasure of welcoming back Amritha Premasuthan to host a second workshop for our members. She had previously spoken on how to perform a life audit and returned to discuss tactics that can help with time and energy management.
You may be thinking, “Oh, I know enough about time and energy management.” But Amritha reminds us there’s a big difference between knowing and doing — we know what steps to take to eat healthily or to lose weight. We know the positive effects of single-tasking versus multitasking. But are we always applying everything we know?
How many hours of sleep do you get?
In order to wake up feeling energized, empowered, enthusiastic, and enlightened, we need to get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
Establish the principles of success by following the principles of E-A-R-L-Y.
E – evening routine
To make sure that you get enough sleep, use the final hour before sleep to prepare for bed. As you begin to wind down, stay away from your phone and other devices, wear comfortable clothes and have minimal distractions.
“No sounds and less light. So basically no cell phones or anything that gives out light as you begin your evening routine,” Amritha recommended.
A – affirmations as reminders in writing
Researchers have found if you say positive statements with conviction, trust and belief, your body will actually believe it is happening.
So end your night by writing down or vocalizing positive statements before going to sleep. For example, “I will wake up feeling focused and energized, and I will wake up feeling like I can focus on this project.”
R – reminders
Reminders are prioritized to-do lists that help your mind prepare for the next day while also building excitement and anticipation. The key point here is to make sure that this is done the previous day or at least at the beginning of your week.
Make sure that you are writing it early so you can have it ready and handy before your day starts — this will ensure you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
Some people like to write their list before bed, or at a favourite spot on a Sunday evening.
L – letting go of any pain, distress and disappointment
Release the weight and negativity of the day that you experienced by writing it down and shifting your thinking to things you are grateful for.
This may sound like journaling, but it is more about reflecting on your day. Some ideas Amritha suggested to get people started included:
- A conversation that you had
- Actions that you took
- Thoughts that you’re having
- What did you learn in the process?
“Practice being grateful,” said Amritha. “And think about lessons that you’ve learned.”
W- why? Find your why
What is your passion and drive to get out of bed with enthusiasm and anticipation?
Although you may feel that people want more of your time, what they really value is your energy.
Everyone is fixated on time management, but it’s not always the best answer. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy 10 minutes of silence or full attention than an hour of a distracted presence?
The second technique has six principles represented by the acronym E-N-E-R-G-Y
E – energy. Split your activities according to energy and not time.
Give one hundred percent of your energy to something, even if that means you allocate less time to it.
Have you noticed there are specific times of the day when you have higher energy levels? For some people, it’s in the mornings, and for others, it’s in the afternoon.
It’s a good practice to assign yourself the tasks which require the most concentration at that time of the day when you have the most energy to fulfil them, rather than just putting it in the morning or later in the day. Always think about energy first!
N – negative energy
We can only optimize positive energy when we control and limit our negative energy.
When you feel that you have negative energy around you, whether it is because of a person or of a surrounding, try to avoid it. And if you cannot avoid it, try to minimize it by focusing on the tasks at hand.
Giving your undivided attention and energy to one task at a time, rather than attempting to multitask will further reduce your negative energy.
Just like a device with too many apps open, our energy is also quickly drained when we try to focus on too many things at once. When you are trying to do something big or complex, you need to spend your energy on that one task. You can switch your energy and tasks with a break that will allow you to reset as you transition.
R – recognize the race you have to run
Is the work you’re doing a marathon or a sprint? You need to pace your energy wisely depending on the nature, length, and intensity of the race.
Be impatient for the small things, but patient for the big things. This distinction will help you manage your energy better so that you don’t drain your energy at the wrong time.
Try not compare yourself with other people. Take your time and be patient. Give yourself some grace and just remember that it’s your race.
You can do little things impatiently, but make sure that you’re giving enough time to see the results of your project. And remember, results take time.
Get out of your comfort zone, but you don’t want to twist so much that you lose yourself. Trying to be something you are not is draining, so just be your authentic self.
Y – your why sets your pace
Know where to find your energy. The best sources, ways to recharge, and the best rates to apply it.
Everyone is on a unique journey, so you need to take your time and not rush based on somebody else’s achievements. Honour and respect your own energy.
Refuelling, maintaining, and recharging of your energy
- Schedule time to refuel and recharge, not by doing something mindless, but something that absorbs your mind, like spending time with friends, exercising, or meditating. This also includes the breaks that you take at work, the breaks that you need to take at home, or any other activity you’re doing. Make sure that the activity you choose is something that really energizes you. Make sure you have something really healthy as a snack or go out for a walk, get some fresh air, or just do like a five-minute quick breathing meditation.
- Learning something new every day increases confidence, self-esteem, and energy reserves.
- Identify positive people and try to gravitate toward them. Surrounded yourself with people who are like you, or join a community or a tribe that inspires you. This will motivate you. It doesn’t have to be something large. It could just be one or two people. But those people should be the people that uplift you.
- Double the break you think you need. So if you think that you need a five-minute break, take a ten-minute break. If you think you need a two-minute break, double it. Take a four-minute break. And for every 30 to 40 minutes of work, take a 3 to 5-minute break (or however long you need.)
By applying these principals — or even just one or two of them — each month, you will see dramatic results in a year’s time.
Everyone knows how to make a living Instead, think about how to make your life. By making sure that you’re managing your energy so that you have enough time to do everything that you love.
SCWIST Events sets up workshops, panel discussions and networking events for the STEM community across Canada through our multiple provincial teams. If you are a STEM speaker, coach or organization looking to collaborate for future events, please submit your ideas via our event submission portal. We look forward to connecting and collaborating with you.
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