I recently had the honour of writing a guest blog post for Em from Planning with Em. I enjoyed writing the piece and thought I would share the same information on my own blog here. It’s not exactly the same so if you would like to read the article over on her blog you can read it here. In that article I explain what I mean by energy planning.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
I come across people all the time that struggle with their energy use. They are burnt out, being overdriven or conversely they are slothful without motivation or drive, and it’s no wonder! Did anyone of your teachers, or elders explain how to use your energy efficiently, how to plan your day in a way that supports your energy? Let me guess, they taught you to eat healthy food, get exercise and get enough sleep?
But being a master of our energy involves so much more than that. What support does our brain and intellectual energy need? What support does our emotional energy need? Without energy planning we can get into all sorts of difficulties. For example, there are 24 hours in a day. Let’s imagine I like to run, [I don’t lol] I could in my head decide that I am going to spend tomorrow running, but is it possible to run fully for the 24 hours? Why not? Because I will run out of physical energy. So planning without considering energy is not going to have sure success. Also, as the cover picture shows, everyone knows about the tortoise and the hare, right?
HOW DOES IT WORK?
This approach to planning is a very individual process. It’s like planning based on your own unique fingerprint, because no other person has exactly your energy. It works by supporting you and you alone. If you energy plan, you create a unique plan that tailors to you alone. I believe this is the downfall of many mainstream systems for planning. You need to be the right person to fit the system. I turn that on its head and say let’s make a right system to fit you.
I like to use the illustration of a phone to talk about energy. A phone only has so much battery power and needs to be charged. But while a phone is charging it can still be used, and that is the same with us. While we are resting physically we can do some things that support our emotional energy. While we are resting emotionally we can be busy mentally. Hopefully you get the point, energy planning will allow us to continually support all of our energies and therefore we will be hitting no more brick walls.
LET’S GET PLANNING
The first step is finding our starting point, in other words – AWARENESS!
Try to learn where you are at with your energy. Give each energy type a rating out of 10 for yourself.
- PHYSICAL 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
- EMOTIONAL 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
- MENTAL/INTELLECTUAL 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
- OTHER 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
The second step is to make a list of your general activities and decide which energy they come under, physical or mental, etc. The goal here is to end up with a nice balanced mix between all the categories, we really don’t want to be neglecting use of any particular energy.
The third step is to do the following exercise. The list of activities is just a guide, so by all means change it if you wish.
The fourth step is the final one – the planning bit! I hope I don’t lose you here, this is where is all comes together.
Let’s say I have about 3 hours of work to do, which is a mental activity, because it’s sat at a computer. My focus for work activity is about 2 hours. It is a good idea for me to include some other categories.
I also need to do some cleaning, that’s physical. I need to do about 2 hours cleaning but I have a limit of 1 hour for focusing on cleaning. I also would like to have a heart to heart with my friend, that’s a good one for me emotionally, that will take about an hour. But I think I’d like to do a bit more. I might spend some time in nature too.
Maybe you might see the next step naturally. Once you start bringing your energy into the picture, you can often see how best to plan and organise things. This is what my day would look like:
- Cleaning = 1 hour
- Work = 2 hours
- Cleaning = 1 hour
- Walk in nature = 2 hours
- Work = 1 hour
- Chat to friend = 1 hour
Once you get the hang of it and you enjoy it you can get into micro planning. So for example, within the category of work, you could divide tasks into small categories. This helps if you have set hours for work and can’t change them, then you could figure out ways of mixing up your energy use within different work categories.
The principle is to recognise that if we get tired doing one thing, we can move on to a different focus and still be able to rest. Sometimes we might be able to pool activities together. My sister taught me this because she always rings me when she walks her dog. So if there is an activity that doesn’t require much focus, can it be pooled with another activity from a different energy category? In my day’s planning above, I could, for example, have taken my computer and done that in nature. I might still want to focus my energy on the nature, but it might be less because I am already in that environment doing my work.
In summary, we can see that it is important to take notice of how long we can keep focus on our different activities. That awareness will enable us to break our day up in a way that we don’t get overwhelmed, we don’t get exhausted and we don’t get to feel like we can’t master our energy. The truth is that we absolutely can!
I hope this article helped give a fresh approach to planning your day. Let me know if you try it. Also, let me know if you want me to write on any other particular topic. If you want to keep up to date with new posts please consider subscribing, or follow me on Social Media. Happy planning Bujoplanner friends. 👋
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