Time Management is Energy Management

iStock_000017987518XSmall-300x300 (1)There is an energy account in us all and we feed it and drain it daily. When we think about each day and how we live it, here is a revealing and intentional question to ask: “Where does my energy take me?” This can be a helpful tool in general and especially in times of life transitions, when there are more unknowns than knowns in terms of what will be next in life.

Simply noticing what grabs our attention and seems novel and interesting can offer clues about what’s inside that may need more full expression. We can go about our day not noticing what attracts us so it continues to stay hidden, or we can be more deliberate about our moods and pay closer attention.

Granted there are many shoulds and to-do lists that demand our focus. And life can’t be all about what grabs us in the moment, but often we are on auto pilot not recognizing when it’s time to reflect and make needed changes to fill our energy account up with pleasures and fulfillment.

There are key times in most of our lives when the windows of opportunity open, when we can switch gears and take over the reins to make new and inspired choices, big or small, that can impact the quality of life and create more well-being.

What gets in the way of managing our most vital source, our energy, are our activities and relationships that drain us. What are yours?

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Feeling Stuck or Getting Back on that Bike as a Metaphor for Life

determination “Life is like a bicycle:  you don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling.”~Claude Pepper

I was in a funk this morning and rather than look at my “to-do” list one more time and feel overwhelmed and distracted, I decided to take a break and go for a bike ride.

I hadn’t been on this particular hilly, strenuous ride in months, so that alone elevated my mood. Although I must confess as I was leaving I had the desire to be done already with the ride, to just feel good but not have to sweat it out and climb all those hills. I actually coached myself by saying aloud: “You can’t feel good until you do the work. So just start peddling.” It felt like a Nike moment.

And with that pep talk, I was off.

About ¾ into the ride I was feeling the hard work in my calves, yet my brain was in flow, open to problem solving and creative strategies that likely wouldn’t have happened sitting in my office. I felt stronger and engaged and ready to get back to reinvent my day. When I took that final decent into my driveway I was energized and grateful that I had pushed myself to get to the other side.

Getting to the other side of a goal or moving intentionally through a life transition is a lot of work. It takes grit, focus and emotional energy that can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Sometimes, like this morning, I just wanted to feel the exhilaration without the exhaustion. But we all know it doesn’t work that way.

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Why Gentleness is a Pillar of Self-Mastery

 

“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey.” ~George Leonard

The Closed Cafe

I was in a yoga class this week and the teacher suggested that to be able to personally master your life it is important to learn how to be more gentle with yourself.  That resonated with me, as a self-described achiever.  I equate drive and grit with productivity and high performance.  But there is a pendulum that swings and being too far in one direction or another can create imbalance.

So how does it look for you, as you consider gentleness and choices you make in your everyday life?   Where do you fall on that pendulum?  Do you know people who seem to have the natural ability to know when to push and when to back off?   Are you one of those people?  If not, how do you learn to discern and find this balance and trust?  This, to me, is at the heart of personal mastery as we learn and unlearn what got us to where we are now, knowing instinctively that some of our ways are no longer useful and need to be shed to make room for new (sometimes more gentle and less aggressive) choices that are a better fit. [Read more…]

Learned Emotional Intelligence

 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”  ~Helen Keller

 

Emotional Intelligence Stages

I heard an interesting opinion yesterday about a best practice related to emotional intelligence or EQ.  According to Dr. Bar-On, the designer of the respected EQi 2.0 assessment, optimism is the strongest predictor for higher EQ.  In a nutshell, EQ is knowing yourself and managing yourself and understanding others and managing others.

So why is optimism the best predictor?  It comes down to attitude and how we face life.  True, some of us are more naturally optimistic, but once we are aware of its importance, our attitudes can change to allow for a more positive outlook on ourselves and with others.

The most intriguing element for me about EQ is that we can influence and improve it, whereas IQ is a fixed quotient.  The bottom line is we are born with our IQ and we can grow into our EQ.  In fact, research tells us that as we age, we tend to naturally improve our EQ. [Read more…]

Time and the Power and Creativity of Mindmapping

 

“Time is our most valuable nonrenewable resource, and if we want to treat it with respect, we need to set priorities.” ― Albert-László Barabási, The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do.

Business Hand Writing Career Mind-map on Technology Virtual Inte

I am a list maker. I have a to-do list going pretty much at all times. I break it down into Personal/Professional/Later this week…/Etc. I find that I am much more productive when I set the tone for the day and feel a real sense of accomplishment when I mark off each action item.

Time is the great equalizer. And, like most, I have mixed feelings about my relationship with the clock because I realize the importance of flexibility and I also know interruptions happen like clockwork. I admire people who can go with the flow, not make lists and still be profoundly productive and creative. I am just not one of those people. In order for me to feel productive as I approach each workday, I need a sense of structure. But there are limits to lists, especially when a big project is just getting started and there are many unknowns… [Read more…]

Embracing the Fallow Times

 

This capacity to linger in the unknown and see what happens is the passage to your creative self.” Gail McMeekin, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women.

Rural

When I am at my most intently aware, I look to nature to find examples that correlate with the human condition to help me to better understand it. The word “fallow” bubbled up for me the last time I was in a life transition. I thought about why this word felt meaningful and tried to understand its message.

Thinking of fallow, words like “empty”, “unproductive” and “vacant” come up. During times of transition when you are stuck somewhere between two somethings, it can feel very muddled and unclear. And, if you are like most, the desire to return to a sense of normalcy is high, where goals seem clear and you are once again aligned with purpose and direction. What I have come to understand about feeling fallow is that it is not what it appears. Often when I have felt this vague sense of unknowing, I later realize that much is going on under the surface. I equate it to sowing seeds (conceiving ideas), that are germinated and waiting to see which ones take root. It takes trust to patiently wait until something grows to the surface, becoming visible and real. [Read more…]