I’m a big fan of matching energy levels and work time – an hour of focused energy can be much more productive than 3 hours of slogging away. But it’s not always practical or possible, especially with kids in the time equation, as one mum asked me in a recent webchat about productivity:
“My highest energy time is in the morning but with 2 young children I often don’t get time to work on my project until they’ve gone to bed and I’m really tired. Any ideas?”
One answer would be to get up earlier in the morning, but as this mum was already waking at 5.45, she didn’t really want to set the alarm any earlier (and risk waking the kids at the same time)!
It’s often not straightforward – you don’t always have full control of how you use your time, and that’s often the point of frustration. So rather than try to change the fact that you have kids, let’s look at how to boost your energy levels in the evening, so that you can make good use of the time you do have.
Firstly a physics lesson. From what I remember from my school days, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. So that means there’s always energy all around us, even if we may feel lacking.
Rather than focusing on tiredness and feeling even more tired as a result, why not start by noticing all the energy around us? Whether that’s the wind blowing in the trees, the traffic zooming around, your partner chuckling at something on TV or the kids climbing around before bedtime. Whatever it is you notice, notice the energy flowing through it, that flows through every part of life – including you.
Secondly, think of an energetic time you’ve had – call to mind a moment where you feel completely full of energy. What elements are there? What ingredients, what sparks of energy jump out at you the most?
All sorts of factors can be energy boosters, for example:
- Sunlight, fresh air, being outdoors, seeing the sky, feeling the wind on your face, hearing the sea rushing.
- Particular foods – fresh fruit, ice cold orange juice, plenty of water
- The company of passionate people, laughter and inspiring conversations
- Colours, space, environment, furniture…
- Your own position and posture – are you standing, sitting, lying down or doing something else?
- Movement – there’s a saying that “to find energy, get moving”. Are you moving around, running, or dancing?
- Music – I have some favourite energising songs that always pick me up – or any sounds that stir up energy in you.
- Words – that you associate with energy, simply written down in front of you. For me these are words like spark, bounce and laughter – what words would you choose?
The great thing about our minds is that we capture what we experience, so we can release some of these energizing factors – for example by imagining sunlight, visualising colour or remembering a passionate conversation – and recall some of that energy to our minds and our bodies even in the evening.
Here are some of the creative solutions that came out of this webchat:
- One mum considered putting a picture of a sunny scene on her wall.
- Another came up with having a shower once the kids were in bed, and maybe even have a glass of fresh orange juice afterwards, as if it were breakfast!
- One dad talked about putting together a playlist of energizing music, and also found that even if he was feeling low on energy to begin with, if he just got started, the first 10 minutes would then generate momentum to keep going – remember, to find energy get moving.
Myself, I often imagine my two year old daughter gleefully bouncing on the trampoline – LOTS of energy there!
What about you? What energy boosts can you give yourself in the evening, or anytime for that matter? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.