Friday, May 16, 2008

Tips for Managing Your Energy When the Battle Grows Fierce

by Karen D. Swim


This morning I opened my devotional and the following words jumped off the page and opened my still sleepy eyes:

Each of us must decide where we're going to put our energy when the battle grows fierce.

The headline was particularly meaningful this week as I have read and listened to many others who are feeling the strain of keeping things in balance. Yvonne Russell wrote about managing the noise level in a Web 2.0 world and Wendi Kelly blogged about managing the multiple priorities in our lives. The demands for our time and attention seem to be growing at a rapid pace. We have to treat our energy as a precious commodity. As Ellen Wilson wrote this week "It pays (literally, because that is the currency that gives all the goods we need for survival) to think about how you spend your precious energy."

So how do we pick our battles? How do we choose where to put our energy?

Keep your Eyes on the Prize
The answer in my morning devotional was to keep your eyes on the prize. We're all in a race but what are you running for ultimately? Take some quiet time, shut off the noise and list what's most important to you. Are your day to day actions aligned with your guiding values? Your values, your purpose are your constant gut check as to where, how and with whom you spend that precious commodity known as energy.

Just Say No!
Women in particular seem to have a hard time saying "No." We want to support, nurture, do and help everyone but there's not enough of you to go around. I've learned to say "No" but even I still experience those times when I say "No" but feel guilty about it. This can be especially difficult when if time and and energy permitted you would say "yes." If you struggle with saying "No" learn to not give an immediate answer. Distance yourself from the pressure of the situation by saying "I'll have to get back to you," or "I have to check my calendar." Follow up by politely but firmly declining. Remember that YOU own your time. It is yours to spend as you please. You do not have to explain your reason for saying no.

Shrink your World
When my husband was diagnosed with cancer I became a full time caregiver. My world became smaller out of necessity. My husband was obviously my top priority. I also continued running and training for a marathon, stayed connected to friends and my church family. I had to narrow my focus and ignore everything else. Sometimes you have to prune your life. In planting, pruning removes the non-productive, diseased or unwanted. When you properly prune plants and trees it enhances the health, strength and beauty. Pruning your life can produce the same effect and is a practice we should all engage in periodically.

You do not have to read every blog post, accept every invitation or join and participate in every social media forum. Choose your battles based on your ultimate prize, your body, mind, soul and loved ones will thank you for it!
How do you manage your energy? How do you make the tough decisions?

Photo: Yuri Arcurs |


ellen said...

Synchronicity at its finest!

When I was young I used to think I could do everything. Now I realize I can't and have to prune or maintain to see certain fruit produced.

We only have so much energy.

Fiercely prune some plants, while pick a few leaves of others for the best growth. Every plant is different in regards to how much pruning it needs.

Words For Hire said...

Ellen, I think you're right - age has a way of forcing you to conserve! I never got tired when I was young but now I can't run on empty, nor do I have the desire to do so. I guess that's why they say youth is wasted on the young. Now that I'm old and wise I could use that youthful energy!

Anonymous said...

Not just women...guys have a hard time saying "no" too.

One of my shortcomings is that I often try to be the "nice guy" and please everyone. And there are people who will only be too glad to exploit this, often in the workplace.

Last year, I had a stand-off with this Ms. Manager Wannabee who was trying to "guilt me" into doing some work I wasn't required to do.

I stood my ground, calmly and politely, and she relented in the end.

It was a small victory, but I was pretty proud of myself. I'm starting to do this more.

It comes with age and wisdom, I guess.

- Friar.

Words For Hire said...

Friar, good point! My husband could never say "No" to salespeople or people that knocked on the door. I would come home to new subscriptions, things in boxes, and various people who my husband could not say "no" to. I had to play bad cop a lot because someone had to do it! I'm glad you stood up and said "No" and that woman sounds like a real stinker. :-)

Loraleigh Vance said...

I just started blogging about 2 months ago.

Since then I have been quite overwhelmed with all that I need to learn aside from keeping up the new posts, twitters, etc.

Thank you for the timely reminder.

Words For Hire said...

Hi Loraleigh,

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes!It can be overwhelming when you are just starting out. You are trying to learn what to do, how to drive traffic and joining things to help. I'm glad that you joined the blogging community and if you need support or help just let me know. :-)

Anonymous said...

I suppose my answer to how I manage my energy, is that I don't manage it very well! I'm a very enthusiastic person and I tend to throw myself into everything heart and soul. Inevitably, I get tired and then I have to start saying no, and I'm still trying to get comfortable with that.
Another great Fierce Friday, Karen!

Words For Hire said...

Amy, well at least you're honest! LOL! I think we all have that tendency to just keep going until our plates are so full and our bodies so overwhelmed that we have to say "No." I have noticed that this is especially true of parents. :-) One thing that has helped me is to put myself on my own priority list. I know that I have to care for myself or I will break down. You always make me think and laugh!


Yvonne Russell said...

Hi Karen
Thanks for the link. The learning to say "no" is sometimes difficult.

Sharon Hurley Hall said...

You're right, Karen, we all need to pick our fights. Learning to say no has been one of the hardest things to do, but I have a much more balanced life now that I have done so. Sometimes I just take a break to get back to real life instead of remaining chained to my work.

Words For Hire said...

@Yvonne, thank you for the wisdom and inspiration! :-)

@Sharon, your balance really comes across in your writing too Sharon. This weekend I unplugged and it has worked wonders! Your suggestion is one we should all practice regularly.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Great post and blog

Words For Hire said...

Hi Jeremy, thanks! I really appreciate you reading. Congratulations on your blog award!


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