Why Should You Manage Your Energy, Not (Just) Your Time

How not to lose your self in too much work

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As a freelancer, you often feel the entitlement of time freedom. Hence, you tend to accept more than two projects to work on at a given time. You will then have to work longer hours until you are forced to work during the weekends and even holidays. You feel exhausted, deprived, and burned out. Stress will then manifest to physical pain (upper neck pain, back pain, and migraine). You will either experience more cravings and gain weight or lose appetite and lose weight—both unhealthy.

Time, being finite and very important as it is, seemed to be the panacea for these problems. The common idea is that more time equals more work to be done. However, even with a perfectly allocated time, freelancers won’t achieve much without energy. If you are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, more time will not automatically translate into favorable achievements at work.

“And what is a man without energy? Nothing—nothing at all.” Mark Twain

Manage your physical energy. Avoid having to work after doing an exhausting house chore or errand. Try conserving your energy throughout the day. Do not overwork in the morning, only to pass out in the afternoon and fail to finish your deadline come nighttime.

Manage your mental energy. Try working on easier tasks (i.e. checking e-mails, planning the week) first to slowly build up your drive to work. Resist spending too much time on these tasks. Then, once you reach your peak mental alertness, do your high-impact and critical tasks and projects. As your mental alertness plateaus, work on less critical tasks again (i.e. projects with longer deadlines).

Manage your emotional energy. Isolating emotions and work is extra challenging for freelancers. You work in the comfort of your home. You have the freedom to whine during an emotional breakdown. Do it. Cry and then cry again—but promise yourself to finish your deadline once you’re done crying your heart out.

“Sleep doesn’t help if it’s the soul that’s tired.” –Unknown

Manage your spiritual energy. Set a time for spiritual rest. Join retreats. Go to the beach. Spend time with family and friends. Write in your journal. Find time to reflect and to revisit your sense of meaning and purpose. You do not live just to work; it’s not a purpose in itself. Rediscover your core values and engage in activities that represent them.

Time and energy go hand in hand. Without either one, you cannot fully function as a freelancer. Manage your time and you do not lose your clients. Manage your energy and you do not lose your self.

Originally published at myfreelancecorner.wordpress.com

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