Everyone wants to have more time and more energy!
But perhaps no one needs them more than mums?
There’s plenty of time and energy management trainings available in books, on courses and at workshops. These trainings usually come from a mostly masculine viewpoint. I’m going to go out on a limb here…. and suggest that women are different to men!
We have different bodies, different hormones, and dare I say it, we have “periods”.
For many years, women have been working hard to secure their position as an equal. In the workforce, in politics and in business. I’ve certainly seen this in the legal profession!
Doing it just like the men…
To prove that we women can do things just as well as the men, we seem to have decided that we have to do things just like the men do them. It seemed to be a weakness to admit to anything that was more feminine, especially around issues like having our periods.
If you go back in history, women were almost shamed and ostracised when it was their time of the month. I remember hearing stories of biblical times where women were not allowed into holy places at their “time of the month”. I have a feeling so much still overhangs from those days and cycles are considered to be something we hide rather than embrace.
The form of time and energy management I teach, takes some of the principles from traditional models, but it builds on this in a more feminine way. We don’t just want to be managing our time and energy like a man, we want to be managing it in a way that reflects us better as women.
Why should you look at managing your time and energy from a more feminine perspective?
Firstly, it’s very difficult for us to keep denying the fact that we are women and that we are different. When you start working with your cycles (which are themselves like cycles of energy) throughout the month and the year, then you can get much more done. Instead of being something embarrassing and to be hidden, they can be a great source of power if we harness it.
Bringing a more feminine perspective to managing your time and energy means that you can get more done, and get it done with more ease, flow and enjoyment even.
How can we can plan our time & energy more effectively and in a more feminine way?
Commonly time and energy management training suggests that we put like tasks or jobs together. For example, you may spend an hour or two in the morning dealing with your emails, then you might spend an hour on telephone calls before doing some work or home related admin. You may need to have conversations with people either as part of business or at home.
These activities can be seen to be different sorts of tasks and requiring different sorts of energies.
What this approach misses, is that one phone call or email is not necessarily the same as another.
A quick phone call or an email to say “yes – I’ll see you on Friday at 2 o’clock” is not the same as a phone call or email where you’re dealing with a problem, perhaps a complaint that you’ve received or a complaint you need to make for instance. These seemingly similar tasks actually require very different sorts of energies.
Think about the different friendships you have. You may have a friend who you can speak very easily with, be honest, open and completely unguarded with them. Alternatively, you may know someone who requires a lot more thought before you speak, and you can see that it takes a lot more energy to be with that person.
We instinctively tend to know which types of activities we are doing during the day, and how much energy those activities are going to need. We might decide to carry out more complicated or difficult tasks towards the beginning of the week when we have more energy rather than saving these until the end of the week when we are tired. (Or vice versa if you are an end of the week type person!)
Bringing awareness to what we’re doing..
It’s certainly useful to bring more awareness to the different tasks that you do, and the different sorts of energy they need. Once you’ve done this, it’s possible to start grouping these tasks together and doing them at the same time. It may be that you don’t read and respond to all of your emails at the same time, but you may do all of the tasks that require a certain sort of energy at the same time, take a break, then move on to something else. Taking a short break before changing to a new sort of energy is really useful as well.
This is really a bit of trial and error. I would suggest that initially you start by noticing the different energies you feel throughout the week as you are performing your various jobs or tasks. It is a good idea to keep a notebook and make a note as you go through your day.
At the end of the week you can look back and see what sort of energy you were using and whether it is possible to group any of your activities together. Remember to make time for a little break or change of scene between activities. Have a hot drink, go for a walk or do some breathing or stretching exercises.
Save an hour a day…?
I’ve known women to save an average of an hour a day when they use this method of allocating similar tasks to the same part of the day. Every time we switch from one sort of energy to another (like the energy of having a friendly chat on the telephone to the energy of having a difficult conversation) it takes around 10-15 minutes to focus on the “new” task.
The more we switch energy throughout the day, the more time we are losing. I notice this a lot if I am reading something and then an email pops up and I decide to open it and send a quick reply. To then go back to what I was reading, takes some time to get back into it. This time “wastage” happens when we are switching energy more often that we need to do.
When you start drifting off or staring out of the window…
You can start to look out for signs that you are switching energy – you might find yourself staring out of the window or wanting to go and make another cup of tea, or deciding you ought to see if the washing is finished! This helps you to see how long you stay in one particular energy, before you are naturally moving into a different one.
Monthly cycles and using them to our advantage
What makes noticing and managing energy even more interesting is how our monthly cycles affect our energy levels. As you go through the month you’re probably aware that a day or two before your period arrives, you can feel completely exhausted. But have you ever noticed that once your period arrives and a day or two into the following week, you have so much energy you’re bouncing off the walls!
Again, you probably have a lot of unconscious awareness around this but what if you started to really pay attention to it and use that knowledge when planning your diary. Look out for the ups and downs in your cycle and see when you are likely to have less energy and perhaps need a little bit more sleep – allow for this in your plans for that day or week. Rather than fight it, accept that for a day or two you need more rest, knowing that the following week you will have so much more energy.
It’s really about being kind to ourselves and taking time to notice our energies through the week and throughout the month. Once you have more awareness around this, you can see if there is a better way to make your planning work for you, your personal energy levels and your cycle.
Small steps to managing your time and energy more effectively
1. Firstly, use a notebook to record what sort of jobs/tasks you are doing each day and which ones might be using similar sorts of energy (they feel like they are using similar sorts of energy).
2. Secondly, notice how your energy changes throughout the day and throughout the week. When do you have the most energy and when do you have the least? Are there certain things you find easy sometimes and really hard at other times?
3. Finally, start making a note of the first day and the duration of your period so that you can predict the times in the month when you will have more energy and when you might need a little more sleep. Remember that the day or two before your period arrives is when you will typically feel the most tired and around a week later you should notice a burst of energy (different timings for different women of course, get to know your body and cycle).
About Hannah Beko
Hannah Beko is the mum of three boys, a wife, a lawyer and a coach/trainer. Since pursuing her own journey to find “happiness” she has developed trainings, workshops and coaching packages to enable other busy women to go from feeling exhausted, burnt out, and not in control of their life, to waking up energised, excited and ready to take on the day!
Part of learning to be happy is uncovering your “authentic self” discovering who you really are and what you want from life, rather than trying to keep everyone else happy. Hannah encourages her clients to think deeply about the changes they need to make in their lives and her combined training/coaching provides hands on help and support for a long term transformation.
Hannah is offering a free training on Tuesday 11th December at 8pm (UK time) with a recording available, to help you to create a “Stress-Less Christmas”. Discover how you can enjoy Christmas as well as making sure the children, the in-laws and the dog have a great holiday!