The real reason there’s not enough time in your day (hint: it’s not poor time management)

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We’ve all said we don’t have the time. Wearing your creative/marketing/financial hat has you working long hours, sometimes for little or no pay depending on the task at hand.

You may even hire people to free you up to do the things you’re good at.

But for some reason, you still feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to spend with the people you care about. To work on that great marketing idea. To do the things that matter.

Even worse, when you finally take the time to do those things you’ve been dreaming of, you don’t enjoy yourself.

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Why?

Because time isn’t the enemy.

Time management vs. energy management

The real reason why you’ve been feeling the way you do is not about time.

Yes, it’s true that you need an efficient time management system. Mismanaging your time will make you feel run down, stressed out, and too exhausted.

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But the thing that really needs management is your energy.

What does that mean?

Your energy is broken down into several key areas:

  • emotions
  • mind
  • body
  • values

Emotional stability

Managing your emotions is key to energy management.  Here are a couple of quick ways to take control  of your emotions:

  • deep breathing
  • expressing gratitude for others
  • changing your internal stories (not playing the victim, etc.)

Practicing these things daily keeps us on an even keel and helps us avoid the extreme highs or depressing lows that can ruin our workflow.

Read more about maintaining your emotions and avoiding burnout here:

Mental acuity

Your ability to focus directly affects how much you get done on a daily basis.  Some practical ways you can stay laser-focused on the task at hand include:

  • work in a distraction-free zone
  • turn off or pause email
  • only do one thing at a time

Stay focused and don’t multi-task; your energy depends on it.

For more on focus and productivity, check out these posts:

Physical health

Growth hacking is all the rage these days.  Sometimes we’re so busy learning about the newest trends and techniques that we forget about the basics:

  • get adequate sleep
  • exercise every day
  • drink plenty of water
  • eat well
  • take frequent breaks

When we’re really into a project it’s tempting to push through lunch and work straight into the evening hours.  When we’re “in the zone,” stopping would interrupt our flow, sure, but there are other times when we need to stop.

As little as 5 minutes can allow us to clear our minds long enough to come back to a project with a fresh perspective.

Read more here on great relaxation / stress reduction techniques for the do-it-all!

Values

It’s a big deal to prioritize your life so it doesn’t conflict with your values.

(We’ve spoken before about taking on work with a company whose product or service conflicts with what you believe in.)

The more you compromise yourself, the less excited you’ll be about getting to work everyday.

So be upfront with yourself about the amount of time you’re willing to devote to your business. Be brutally honest, or you’ll be longing for a day at the park when you’re trapped inside working on another rush project.

Final thoughts

Before you download the latest time management template, take a look at your energy levels.

  • What’s important to you?
  • What habits have you developed to help you manage your energy?
  • Where can you improve?

Share your tips, stories, and successes in the comments!

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.

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Comments

  1. Thank you, just what I needed 🙂

  2. Brian Parker says:

    I’ve had this article opened on my desktop for a week now, and finally got around to reading it (without distractions). There’s some solid advice here, particularly the segment about remembering the basics (food, sleep, etc). Working as a freelancers often means a chaotic schedule and these are the things I neglect when I’m knee-deep in a project.

    Always nice to have the reminder, so… thank you! And keep up the good work over there at Millo – I love your blog posts!

    • Sharon Pettis McElwee says:

      I struggle with the whole self-care thing myself, and I’m also working on forcing myself to get up after 45 minutes of work, which doesn’t always happen when I’m “in the zone.”. Thanks for your kind words, Brian!

  3. Ourlipsaremoving says:

    You have said some very valid points. Especially about the mental and emotional stability. We can often get wrapped up in everything that we are doing that we forget those important things and time slips away from us.

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