Do you sometimes wish you could press ‘pause’ on life to get a few things done? Well, Helen Packham has written an article for us on exactly that: how to find more time, more energy and to increase productivity…
Helen is a transformational life and business coach for parent entrepreneurs, helping them find clarity, confidence and calm in the chaos
I actually thought I was an octopus the other day. I had been up for hours already and it was only just morning (I’m sure you early risers can relate!). I was giving the baby breakfast, playing a game of hide and seek with my 3.75 year old and was writing the weeks’ content for my social media posts at the same time. In that moment I had to stop and check in with myself, ‘is there another way?’ The answer was yes. I just needed a reminder of how not to fall into the octopus Mum burnout trap.
I’ve always had quite an intense relationship with time. In my younger years, I used to be one of those annoying ‘hurry up’ clock-watchers, walking very fast and not wasting a precious minute. I’ve slowed down a bit now, thank goodness. Time management has always featured some way or other though, from my years as a leadership development coach in large corporates, and in my personal life too. The guests were amazed when I didn’t have a clipboard and stopwatch strapped to me at my wedding.
Energy management has also played an important part in my life and career. I have been lucky enough to discover the secrets of tapping sources of energy and how managing energy day-to-day can pay huge dividends in efficiency and productivity. My work as a strengths development coach focuses entirely on developing areas of strength and energy, with the view that potential is far greater when doing things that you are naturally good at or enable you to go into ‘the zone’ (think racing car drivers before a race).
Being time and energy conscious did come in handy when building my first business, which took shape whilst I was still in my corporate job. It also proved useful when I built my second whilst looking after my baby son. It is why now, as a transformational life and business coach, time and energy management feature heavily when supporting parent entrepreneurs to build a business that makes it possible for them to have it all. Time for them, time for family AND time for a successful career too. Impossible right? No! Here’s how….
6 Ways to Find More Energy and Time
1. Get time smart
You really aren’t an octopus, and multi-tasking actually makes you less productive, with more chance of brain scatter. It is quite well known that high performers block specific tasks at specific times of the day for maximum efficiency. This includes not checking email until after 11am. The reason being that by responding to emails straight away, you are already on someone else’s time rather than your own.
Another great tip is to set a timer and work solidly on one thing for 30/45 minutes. Then have a 10-minute break, go and stretch your legs or make a drink and have a snack. Then come back and focus on a task for another block of time. Close down all other applications when you are focusing on that task to avoid distraction.
2. Have a mindset of abundant time
Believing that there is more than enough time for all that you desire will mean you approach your days on the front rather than the back foot. This is particularly important if you are starting a business, looking after children and also finding the time to look after yourself too. Putting your needs at the top of the pile will pay dividends to everyone else, trust me!
So rather than using the well trodden belief that you don’t have enough time, flip your view to say out loud ‘I have more than enough time to achieve everything I desire.’ If you repeat this every day you will tread new neural pathways, just like new tracks in a meadow.
3. Get onto Einstein time
Einstein famously said “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
Einstein time (ET) is a concept introduced by Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap. With ET, you are the source of your own time. You can make as much or as little of it as you want by the way you view it. Have you ever done something that totally bored you? Time went super slow, right? What about a time when you were having fun, I’m guessing it flew by?
To help you get on ET, focus on your strengths. These are the things that bring you most joy, satisfaction and energy. There is limitless potential in your strengths, so focusing on the things that light you up means that you are more likely to get onto Einstein time. Of course the things that don’t light you up can’t be ignored, but it will be a case of dumping, or delegating those things for damage limitation.
4. Tap your energy sources
Identifying when you are depleted in energy can help you to look at the cause and seek out ways to recharge. To do this, think of tasks and activities across four dimensions of physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental energy. For example, physical energy is all about the quantity of energy you have. So that means time for sleep, rest, healthy food and water.
Spiritual energy is all about passion and purpose and connection. This might look like volunteering, or if you are an entrepreneur, ensuring your business is completely aligned with your passion, purpose and your WHY. I am a coach for the energy project founded by Tony Schwartz. You can find out more about their great work here.
5. Spend more time with your energy fairy godmothers
We are all energetic beings, so it makes sense that other people have the ability to pump us up or completely drain us. I like to call them energy fairy godmothers and dementors. If you are feeling low on energy yourself, think about how you might be able to protect your energy from those that make you feel drained. On the flip side, whom might you be able to spend time with that you would call an energy fairy godmother? Those positive, joyful people who make you feel great to be around. Spend more time with these people. You will be amazed how much their positive vibes rub off on you.
Forget time, think: energy
6. Turn planning on its head
Instead of looking at your day as minutes and hours, look at it in terms of energy instead. How much energy do you have today? What or who will have the potential to make you fizz or drain you? What can you do about that? How can you get on Einstein time? In the zone and twice as productive? I have found these questions incredibly useful when running two businesses and looking after my two children.
Helen has created an energy plan to help you manage your time, which you can download for free here.