I work with a lot of high-achieving, entrepreneurial types. Often, one of the first things we focus on is developing an energy management strategy.

This is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you’re at a point where you’re trying to figure out your next move but are completely exhausted, I recommend you start managing your energy NOW, using the info outlined below. Dreaming up the new takes creativity, and it’s really, REALLY hard to tap into your creativity when you’re already depleted.

Secondly, if you’re committed to doing big things in the world and making a difference through your life and work, learning how to manage your energy will keep you from burning out.

So what do I mean by “managing energy” anyway? The way I see it, there’s only so much energy available to you at any given moment. It can be helpful to think of your internal energy like your phone battery. Most of us charge our phones overnight, so when we wake up in the morning our battery is at 100%. Of course, if something happened during the night – maybe a power outage, or the cat knocked the phone off the charger – you might wake up to a phone at a lower percentage, say 80%. Similarly, we wake up with our internal energy levels at 100%, but some days we might start out with less depending on what we have going on. 

Throughout the day, we’re using up this energy in various activities. Making breakfast, walking the dog, driving to the office, sitting in meetings – all of these things take a certain amount of energy.

Of course, just like with the phone, some things take more energy than others – having an argument with our partner, dealing with a toxic coworker, working on a stressful project, or doing things that don’t align with our strengths can zap our energy and cause our inner battery to run low.

Most of us go through our days completely unconscious of how much energy we’re putting out, and how little we’re putting in. (Interestingly, we’re often pretty aware of how much battery life our phone is at – with a quick glance, we spot that “low battery” indicator, and we either plug in our phone or, if we don’t have a charger handy, we consciously conserve our battery.)

I often tell my clients, treat yourself better than you would treat your phone. Check in with your internal battery throughout the day and, if you notice your energy is low, plug yourself in! This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take a nap or call it quits for the day – there are plenty of ways you can recharge your battery that don’t involve completely checking out. 

Start by taking a few minutes and list out 5-10 simple activities that feel energizing and restorative to you (aka “Energy Gains”). Some examples: take a 5-minute walk around the block, sit outside for 10 mins and feel the sun on your skin, make a cup of favorite tea and drink it without DOING anything else, watch a funny video (laughter is a great energy boost!). Whatever feels energizing to you, focusing on things that are readily available to you as you go about a normal day.

Next, take a few minutes and list out the top activities or people that feel draining to you (aka “Energy Drains”). Most people find this part easier than coming up with Gains, but there are a few examples earlier in this post if you need. 

From there, it’s a matter of minimizing or eliminating your drains, maximizing your gains, and keeping tabs on your overall energy levels as you go about your day. When you find you’re running low, give yourself a Gain (or two or five, whatever you need). 

And, if you’re heading into something you KNOW to be a Drain, bookend it with Gains before AND after. For example, listen to an energizing song before heading into the taxing weekly meeting, and treat yourself to a walk in the sunshine after. 

Treat yourself better than you would treat your phone. Mind your energy levels, and recharge as needed. 💗