How to Create More Energy in Your Life (Part 3)

burn out calm clutter enjoy the journey mindfulness personal freedom stress management Jun 15, 2024

In this blog series about boosting our energy, we've talked about clearing out the clutter, both physically and mentally. Now, let's shift gears and talk about something we often overlook but that plays a huge role in our energy levels – our SCHEDULES

We live in a world that moves at lightning speed, with no shortage of stimulation and options. And it seems to be the norm to have a calendar crammed with projects, commitments and activities, both personally and professionally. This constant busyness can really drain our energy and leave us with little to no time and energy for personal growth or just to enjoy the journey.

(Read part one here and part two here.)

An overstuffed schedule is an ongoing challenge that many of us face – often without fully recognizing its impact on our energy levels and overall quality of life. It can come from a variety of factors, including:

  • Not wanting to disappoint others
  • A sense of obligation
  • Fear of missing out
  • Underestimating how much time something will actually take
  • Having multiple interests
  • Lacking a clear vision or focus for life or one's goals
  • Feeling like it’ll be faster/easier if you just do it yourself
  • Not taking time to think it through

The impact of being over-commited is going to vary, but here are some common themes I’ve seen with my clients:

😕Stress and Burnout – Constantly operating in a state of over-commitment can lead to chronic stress and eventually burnout, where even the simplest tasks feel overwhelming.

😕Less Quality Sleep – Whether it’s from staying up later that you want to squeeze in a little more work, or not sleeping well because you have so much on your mind, no one benefits from less quality sleep than they need. 

😕Poor Eating Habits – Being on the go so much can leave little time to prepare and cook healthy foods at home, which can often result in grabbing food on the go that’s packed with excessive sugar, salt, fat… 

😕Lower Quality of Work – With too much on your plate, the quality of your work can suffer. There's less time to devote to each task, leading to mistakes or subpar outcomes.

😕Neglected Personal Needs – Over-commitment often means sacrificing time for exercise, sleep, hobbies, and relaxation. This can take a serious toll on your physical health, mental well-being, and overall happiness.

😕Strained Relationships – When your schedule is too packed, time with friends and family may be the first thing to go. It may also result in not being fully present with the person or in the moment. Resentments can build if you feel like you are always taking on more than others.

😕Lower Overall Life Satisfaction – When you’re constantly on the go with a packed schedule, sacrificing quality time with loved ones, and not allowing enough time for self-care or to pursue your passions and goals, your overall happiness and fulfillment will inevitably take a hit.

Can you see any of these showing up in your life? Which ones resonate the most? Do you see any other ways a packed schedule is impacting your life?

Of course, we all go through periods of life that are extra busy and that may be extra mellow. Being mindful of what's on your schedule and WHY is crucial to staying more balanced and resilient.

Here are 8 practices you can use to minimize becoming over-committed:

Practice #1: Master the art of saying no

It's all about giving yourself the power to pass on stuff that doesn't fit with what's important to you or what you stand for. By doing this, you make room for the things that really matter. Getting good at saying no isn't about being a downer or not wanting to lend a hand. It's about knowing your limits and putting your well-being first so that you can show up as your best self. It's like building a muscle – the more you practice, the stronger you get at keeping your plate filled with only the things that truly nourish your life and goals.

Practice #2: Set boundaries

Setting boundaries – including with yourself – is crucial for maintaining your energy because it helps you manage your time and resources effectively. It's about knowing your limits and communicating them clearly. This practice prevents burnout by ensuring you're not overcommitting yourself and allows you to focus on what's truly important. By setting boundaries, you're prioritizing your well-being, which is essential for sustaining your energy levels and staying productive in the long run.

Practice #3: Get your priorities straight

Figure out what really matters to you and plan your day/week/month around those top priorities. Separate your must-dos from your nice-to-dos. You don’t need to overanalyze or get all fancy with different methods or tools. Just keep it simple and focus on what or who needs your attention first.

Practice #4: Evaluate Your Commitments

Take a moment to sift through your commitments, kind of like sorting through your closet to see what fits and what's just taking up space. Consider what genuinely aligns with your goals and brings you joy, versus what you're doing out of habit or obligation. Then, make it a weekly ritual – perhaps over your favorite Sunday morning brew – to reflect on your priorities and set your focus for the week ahead. This isn't about cramming more into your schedule. It's about choosing activities that energize you and support your growth and happiness, helping you to navigate your week without feeling overwhelmed by unnecessary burdens.

Practice #5:. Quit it

Far too often, I hear my clients say that they feel like they have to continue being a member of a board or keep volunteering or finish a project simply because they started it. If quitting or pausing your involvement is what you need to take the pressure off – consider this permission to go for it! Just because you started something does NOT mean that you have to keep doing it if it’s not the right time or the right fit for you.

Practice #6: Single-Tasking

Focus on completing one task at a time. This approach is more efficient and satisfying, allowing you to fully complete tasks before moving on to the next. You can apply this to activities or hobbies too by trying one for a while and then moving on to the next instead of starting multiple things.

Practice #7: Delegate and Ask for Help

You don't have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks when possible, and don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

Practice #8: Prioritize Self-Care

Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your schedule. This includes time for rest, hobbies, exercise, and anything else that recharges your batteries. Create a calming nighttime routine that supports sleep. Plan out a few meals for the week and prep the ingredients, so you’re ready to go. Take a weekend off from plans and just go with the flow.

Let's get real about our calendars – it's not just about finding more time. It's about making time for the stuff that lights us up inside! When we clear out the junk clogging up our days and get mindful about how we fill our time, we can craft a schedule that's more supportive and filled with more of the good stuff. That's the secret sauce to feeling more pumped and satisfied with life.

Dealing with doing too much isn't just about saying 'no' more often (though that's a big part of it). It's about taking a good, hard look at how we're spending our precious hours and energy. Spotting the tell-tale signs that we're stretched too thin and doing something about it can help us take back control of our time, dial down the stress, and make room for more fun.

Remember, it's not about how much you're doing, but how much of what you're doing that really matters to you. Finding that sweet spot is key to living a life that's not just busy, but genuinely fulfilling.

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