Why every entrepreneur should manage their energy, not their time.

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 15:53 -- Mark Sephton

Are you a workaholic trying to find a way to keep your energy up and also find time to relax? Are you tired of struggling to keep it all together, while trying to squeeze in enough time to truly enjoy life? 

Being the best requires us to take a close look at how we manage our energy because it is necessary for everything we do. Read this article to learn how to manage your energy and stop sputtering along the finish line.

Entrepreneurs at start-up businesses are working longer hours than ever before. You rise early and work late into the night. It consumes your mind and drains your energy. Time is finite, the number of hours in a day is fixed, but your energy is renewable. If you don’t manage your energy your relationships will suffer, your work performance will suffer and your general love for life will suffer.

“Even Formula One has pit stops to refuel and check the safety and performance levels of the vehicle”. Mark Sephton

Just like a race car, people need pit stops because scheduling breaks is essential to staying at your peak potential. If you don’t manage your energy you will be unable to function to your maximum potential; like racing around with a flat tyre. 

“Having a break leads to break through”! Mark Sephton

Let’s look at the five energy wasters you need to get rid of. We’ll look at how to tap into your four primary sources of energy and how to stop busyness while remaining productive. Just because you’re moving forward does not mean you’re getting ahead.

How to deal with negative people - Rid yourself of energy wasters 

We all have people and circumstances that are taking up our energy and leaving us with little left for the people and things that really matter. Your energy his being diluted by people and things that are trying to distract you from your passion and vision. This is costing you big time. 

5 Things to get rid of:

  1. Caring what other people think. It is important not to measure yourself by the standards of other people. This preoccupation with trying to please others can quickly lead to depression. The opinion of strangers should not matter. Wanting to please and take care of others is natural, but when pleasing others are based on the fear of rejection it can become habitual and unhealthy. You can combat this destructive habit by appreciating your inner loveliness. Whatever thoughts or feelings arise within you, respond to them with kindness. Life is not about pleasing others, it’s about fulfilling your potential. 
  2. Stop worrying about the competition. Drive your business forward by following your purpose. Your competition isn’t against other people but against your own ability and potential.
  3. People who are constantly bringing you down. Surround yourself with people who are positive and create an environment that helps you grow, be inspired and have the courage to tap into your own creative genius. Who you allow to speak into your life will affect the way you think, and subsequently, your behaviour and success. Rid yourself of people that criticise and speak ill of you. Pay no attention to these dream killers. 
  4. We waste emotional energy on old, unresolved pain. We judge our pain and believe we are not entitled to it, because the event occurred such a long time ago. It’s important to acknowledge the past pain, open the wound so the healing can begin and clear the emotional space for lighter, happier feelings. You might need counselling or just a heart to heart with a trusted friend. Make an appointment and let the healing begin.
  5. Doubting and second-guessing yourself. Take a look at the root cause of your dissatisfaction and address why you invalidate your own choices. Learn to trust yourself to make good decisions. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from gaining new experiences. Keep a “proof” journal, where you record all the instances from your past where you have made good choices that has brought you happiness. This is your irrefutable proof that you have the ability to make forward-propelling decisions. 

Your four primary sources of Energy

When we manage our energy we boost our motivation, performance, creativity and memory. Your energy can be broken down into 4 different elements:

  1. Your physical energy. Inadequate nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest diminish your basic energy levels. You will have trouble managing your emotions and focusing your attention. Physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel in your life. It’s imperative that you eat right, get enough rest and exercise regularly. 
  • Nutrition: Keep your glucose levels sustainable by eating regularly; carbohydrates in the morning, fat and protein in the evening. 
  • Fitness: Exercise increases the supply of oxygen in your blood stream at any given time. Going to the gym creates a “cornerstone habit”, a habit you can build any other habit around. After you have a consistent fitness habit, you are basically ready to tackle any other challenge much easier. Exercise also releases endorphins which in itself is an energy and mood booster.
  • Sleep: Go to sleep and wake up consistently at the same time. Research shows that your performance will strongly atrophy with even slight sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep disturbs your cognitive function, quite simply it makes you stupid. 
  1. Your emotional energy. If you are able to take control of your emotions, you can improve the quality of your energy, regardless of the external pressures you’re facing. Emotional energy has a specific feel. It’s a sense of being up, happy, forward looking, resilient, feeling hopeful and creative. Emotional energy means you can ride out any storm, take on challenges and maintain courage throughout. 
  • Build relationships. Relationships are key for social health, they do your heart good. Embrace the spirit of community, build a network and culture that looks at supporting, uplifting and blessing those around you. 
  • Establish a great reputation. Your reputation is the best and most valued commodity you have as a business owner. You won’t function well on empty fumes and you’ll harm our reputation when you push yourself beyond what is healthy. 
  • Express gratitude and appreciation to others. Holding gratitude in your heart does amazing things, most profound is that it multiplies. Nurturing a heart of gratitude demonstrates appreciation of what is good right now in your life. 
  1. Your mental energy. Mental energy is your ability to concentrate, analyse and be creative. 
  • Your mental energy is essential to direct your focus to the activities most important to you. For example, each night before you go to bed, identify the most important challenge for the next day and make it your first priority when you wake up. 
  • Your mental energy can be zapped by excessive worry, negative thinking and racing thoughts, leading to an inability to concentrate and focus. Underutilising your mental energy by watching an excessive amount of television or sticking to rigid routines can result in a “don’t care” attitude and demotivation. 
  • The mental aspect of your energy will determine how effectively you use your physical capacity of energy. A commitment to learning new things every day is one of the best ways to keep your mental energies sharp. 
  • Focus systematically on activities that have the most long-term leverage. Research shows that unless people intentionally schedule time for more challenging work, they tend not to get to it at all or rush through it at the last minute. 
  1. Your spiritual energy. Finding the “why” of your life, finding your purpose. 
  • You need to align your values and goals with a purpose beyond your immediate self-interest. You must immerse yourself completely in the mission you are on, whether that be starting a business, managing a career or caring for your family.
  • Be aware of what you want because indecision is the enemy. You need to empower yourself to make the right choices to showcase your passion and skills.
  • Create and protect time to think and invest in you. You must stay centered and focused on your mission statement, understanding your key reasons for being on earth. 

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

 Don’t be busy, be Productive

Everybody wants a piece of your time; be wise in who you choose to give it to. Explore curiosities, but be intentional. Do everything with purpose. According to research, your brain will attempt to “simulate” real productive work by avoiding big projects and focus on small, mindless tasks to fill your time. Don’t allow your time to be choked up with busyness. 

Don’t accept tasks just because someone will pay you for it. Only accept tasks that are in line with your passions and strengths. Be mindful.

Take time to reflect. Reflection is one of the most important tools for personal growth. It’s helpful to take time out and take stock of how you’re performing, what you’re involved in, what’s taking up your energy and focus. Discover what motivates you; your personal mission statement.

Stop multitasking. Multitasking dilutes your focus and execution. When you’re doing more than one thing at any one time, you’re not giving all your energy to anything. Focus on the most important thing at that moment to save energy in the long run.

“Unless you cut yourself in half, you can only physically be in one place at any time”. Mark Sephton

Know what matter to you and focus on that. The only way to make your life extraordinary is to know what extraordinary means to you. Once you know what matters, set your priorities accordingly.

 How to focus your energy and find balance

  1. Take care of yourself. Get enough rest. Tiredness and sleep deprivation results in poor decision making. You will not only protect but absolutely increase the reputation of your brand by coming from a place of rest, recovery and focus. 
  2. Focus on one thing at a time. Find that one thing and become an expert in that one area of focus. Rid yourself of those duties that no longer stimulate your passions or give you the opportunity to flex your skills. 
  3. Ensure technology serves you. Don’t be a slave to the distractions of social media. 
  4. Have down time. Take regular time to just switch off. Carve out regular breaks or take time to reflect, unwind and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Often when we take time outs we tap into our creative genius. 
  5. Find order in your purpose. Write down your mission statement. This encapsulates your purpose and values. Your mission statement sets the direction for your personal and professional development. Set clear and measurable goals and objectives to accomplish your mission with deadlines to reaching them. 

Conclusion

I think often as entrepreneurs we feel overwhelmed by the need to “go all in”, never slowing down or exhibiting weakness. Yes, it is up to you to keep the momentum going, to be focused 100% of the time and motivate your team, but you should never feel guilty for taking breaks. 

One of the reasons I practise scheduling my energy and allow myself downtime, is to avoid burning out. When I then commit to a client, I have enough energy to fully mentor and motivate them to become their best selves.

Manage your energy by getting enough rest and exercise and by avoiding energy depleting people. Focus your attention on things you have a passion for and that align with your purpose.

What energy wasters do you need to get rid of? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. 

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