Amy Crow
Designer / Illustrator / Maker

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Managing Your Energy Distribution

At least once a week I come across one frazzled person overwhelmed by tasks, general life, anxiety or their job. You would think with the plethora of online resources dedicating their entire existence to efficiency and time management would influence a fair few people, but I feel like the rates of success are actually quite low.

Now, I wouldn't say I'm the sharpest pencil in the box but thank Christ I'm logical (#blessed) and figured out a couple of really important things early on (before my design course, luckily) that have drastically helped my lifestyle to this date.

This is another list based post but I thought, fuck it, it's been awhile and all January has been good for has been fresh memes and tips on how to avoid your feelings. Truthfully we're all just waiting out the "new year, new me" phase which hopefully will wither and die accordingly in the next few weeks.

1. Energy is renewable while time is a finite resource. So without even thinking too deeply here it's apparent that how you gain and use energy is more important than the time you currently have. How do you recharge? Figure that out and do it. I know I'm an introvert at the core of my being, so when I spend time on my own, work on my own thing and not talk to another soul for 6 hours, thats equivalent to a full night sleep. 

2. Deeply understand when you get the best results from yourself. Are you a morning or night person? Do you work in short bursts? Does incentivisation work a treat?  I personally work best in 15 minute sprints. I don't know if it's the challenge to get something done in the short time frame, my anxiety about the timer going off or that I hate being interrupted when I'm on a streak- the point is, I can get most hefty tasks done in 3-4 sets of 15 minutes and not feel drained, at all. (see also, the Pomodora Method)

3. Make the first move before thinking. Procrastination gets even the most motivated of us but you can cut it off at the source by not even indulging in thoughts of putting something off. Literally, just start, put the excuses out of your head and get it done. This does take practice but don't let yourself fall into negative thinking, distractions or falling for your own BS. 

4. Do the worst thing on your list first. For two reasons; one, it's out of the damn way. Secondly, you'll be amazed by how much weight is lifted off your shoulders once it's complete. You'll find getting everything else done after the fact feels ten times easier.

5. Do. Not. Attempt. To. Multitask. It's not a fucking thing, honestly. Set your mind to one task at a time and stop overwhelming yourself with the entirety of your to-do list. 

6. Create boundaries. To be sustainable in your energy usage you need to respect your working capacity. If you know you can't fit another thing in- delegate it to someone else or another time. If you think it will stress you out to take the project on, say no until you're ready. There will always be more opportunities, job offers, events etc.

7. Do not waste your time on vampires or tasks. If you find particular types of people drain you dry of energy and time, limit your contact. If there's a task that you can get rid of / move away from / not take on in the first place- you should do that. Really consider the mental energy it takes to do something you don't want to do - think about what it's even worth to you in the first place.

8. Turn off your notifications. I only just recently turned FaceBook Messenger back on because I found my clients were contacting me more through there. The whole time I've owned an iPhone I've only ever had texts and calls on. The main reason is because I can't afford to be continually distracted; I have more important things to do. If someone desperately needs to contact me, I've littered those details around the internet enough that you could find them in a quick google search. The second reason is, it's dizzying to keep up with the constant influx of reactions, likes and comments. I'd rather chunk that activity- similar to how people deal with their email inboxes to dedicated bursts of time twice a day.  The thing is, we're all addicted. It's easy to put tasks off and scroll through the meeds. Essentially you're doing yourself a disservice, you've got more important things to do. Don't you? Because I keep hearing how busy you are... 

9. Time spent complaining does not help anyone, it just perpetuates negative thought patterns. I understand things can be frustrating at times, we've all had a Chernobyl melt down at some point. Having mini melts every day does not help anyone though. The thing about complaining is that the more we do it, the easier it gets to do. It's easier to take a stab at a family member, friend or co-worker than it is to effectively communicate what needs to be done in the first place. It becomes easier to make excuses for not doing something because we're too busy blaming three other people instead of making a decision. Quit your bitching and find a solution, there is always another option.

10. Use stress to elevate not eliminate. Since 2005 "stress" has been a buzz word that has gotten diluted over the decade. What once was a genuine issue is now a cop out for those who live their lives with their heads up their backends. If you're going to be stressed, at least use that fire and momentum to achieve something, wallowing in paralysis and bleating about how "stressful" life is makes you a time waster and a bore.

If you have other points or if you think I'm just plain wrong, tell me about it. Otherwise, I hope this helped and didn't just add to the pool of resources we ignore daily on the internet.

 

 

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