When I first decided to write this blog post, it was going to be about ways to create more time in your day, not create more energy. The quote – “Oprah and Beyoncé have the same number of hours in their day, so we have no excuse” was swirling around my head, and was a statement that used to inspire me to stop making excuses for why I didn’t get things done.
However these days, I really dislike this quote because it makes women feel guilty for not being able to do it all. I started thinking about the reasons why we consider ourselves to be time poor, and it dawned on me that that the real issue is the quality of time in our day, not the amount.
There are plenty of articles about how to manage your time better in terms of checking emails at allocated times, avoiding endless scrolling through your social media accounts, and planning meals and exercise the night before, but these tips are missing a key element that affects our daily performance – energy. Yes we might create more spare time by implementing these tips, but if we are lacking in the energy to utilise it, then what is the point?
Yesterday I read an article on The Collective Hub titled “Forget time management, focus on energy management” which is all about finding your unique pace when it comes to the mind and body. The article contains some great food for thought and encourages you to experiment with what works for you, so make sure you check it out if you haven’t done so already.
Taking it one step further, there is some interesting science behind the concept of influencing your energy levels, which I learned about in Dr Libby Weaver’s latest book “Exhausted to Energized”. I am a big fan of Dr Libby because her advice on women’s health is backed by science and considers not only nutritional factors, but also the biochemical and emotional influences that can impact on our ability to perform at our best.
In this post, I wanted to share with you some of the simple tips to increase your energy levels, which I have learned from Dr Libby.
1: Lift those weights!
At a cellular level, the mitochondria produce energy in our body. Mitochondria are housed in our muscles, so the more lean muscle mass we build through resistance training and weights, the more mitochondria we create. The mitochondria also contribute to managing our body fat, which means that not only do you have more energy, but also you will have a better chance at achieving your optimal weight.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, get to the gym el pronto! If you are scared to use weights, try body weight exercises such as yoga, pilates and good old burpees.
2: Stop sitting on your energy
This one I found really interesting. Who would have thought that the more you sit around doing nothing, the less energy you have? Research has proven that the more we move our body, even if it is to walk to the water cooler at work for five minutes every hour, the more energy we will create and maintain.
Why don’t you set a timer on your computer or phone to remind you to get up off your chair every hour? I also recently started wearing a Fitbit to work to encourage me to increase my steps each day.
3: Reduce the amount of open tabs in your brain
Have you ever freaked out when you have been forced to shut down your computer or phone because you would lose all the tabs on your Internet browser that you have been meaning to read? I certainly have! If you imagine that your brain was the Internet browser, just think of all the energy that is consumed by having to process all the information in those open tabs, including constantly refreshing the content – it is enough to make you feel tired!
We need to stop pressuring ourselves to multi-task and focus on one thing at a time. You can also reduce the amount of open tabs in your brain by writing things down on paper or keeping an electronic task list.
4: Change your mindset
It sounds really simple, but the happier we are in going about our daily activities, the more energy we have. Doing things you despise will quickly zap your energy, so ask yourself – “Do I really need to say yes to this?”
If you do have to say yes, try changing your attitude to the task. Being grateful makes it impossible to feel negative about a situation, so can you shift your mindset to focus on the positives? We all need to remind ourselves how amazing we truly are, and be grateful for the opportunities that exist in our lives.
5: Create some calm through meditation
This is one of my favourite tips. Starting each morning with a short meditation will give you the clarity to approach your day in the most intentional way possible. The most basic way to create calmness in our body and mind is to breathe deeply, which is something that meditation encourages.
When you start the day from a place of calmness, you will more likely prioritise what is important to you, not to others. This will automatically give you more space and energy to do the things that will take you one step closer to your goals!
I really want to encourage you to start thinking about managing your energy rather than your time through these simple strategies. They will not only give you more energy, but also have a positive influence on your health more generally. Don’t forget to share your own strategies and experiences in the comments below!