The following is excerpted from Dying To Be a Good Mother: How I Dropped the Guilt and Took Control of My Parenting and My Life by Heather Chauvin. Copyright © 2021 by Heather Chauvin. Excerpted with permission from Page Two Books.
Energetic Time Management is a transformative and simple-to-implement process that will help you manage your energy, not your time. ETM will show you how to set up your week in alignment with how you want to feel and give you the actionable steps you can (or need to) take to solve the problem of, “How can I do it all without feeling exhausted?”
To set up ETM from scratch, you will need to complete six steps. Since your attention goes wherever your energy goes, carve out two hours and a quiet space where you can give this process your focused thought and attention.
Step 1: The Brain Dump
We all have an endless list of to-dos. They may not fill our soul, but they can fill long stretches of time and mental space, if we let them.
This is where you purge your should-dos, need-to-dos, have-to-dos, even your want-to-dos. Put it all down so you can eliminate your feelings of overwhelm.
When I do this, I break my list down by these categories:
On a blank journal page, do your brain dump. Purge onto the page so you can at least clear out the mental space you’ll need to move forward.
Step 2: Prioritize
To move toward your desired feelings and your big vision, you have to prioritize your list. The truth is, being busy and staying busy is easy. What’s not always easy is saying ‘no’ to your old priorities in order to say ‘yes’ to creating the life you desire.
Here’s a sample priority list:
4.My partner or spouse
Below your prioritized list, write down your top three desired feelings.
Step 3: Highest Leveraged Action
If you’re working on mastering the basics—exercising, getting sleep, drinking water, and so on—then focus on those for a while.
Remember, though, we’re moving away from all-or-nothing thinking. Instead, aim to improve your habits and how you feel by one degree. For example, don’t try to go from drinking no water to four liters a day. Instead, drink one glass of water every morning to start. Focus on improvement, not perfection.
Mindfulness and exercise also help me to feel mentally and physically vibrant and ready for whatever my day brings. If my desired feelings are confident, strong, and alive, my action list for my “self” item might look like this:
a. Daily movement for twenty minutes (yoga, running, walking, or gym)
b. Get dressed and do my hair
c. Practice some form of mindfulness for five minutes
Step 4: Set Up Your Calendars
Now it’s time to begin putting your vision into action. At this stage in the process, I highly recommend getting a paper planner instead of just a digital one. There’s something that happens with pen and paper that doesn’t happen with digital—we relax, access different parts of the brain, and get more creative. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add events to a digital calendar. It just means that it’s best for you to also use a paper planner. I use a planner that breaks each day down hourly. That level of planning used to turn me off, but now I prefer it because it helps me to use my time more intentionally. So often, when
we’re scheduling our days, we pack in more than we can reasonably handle and then feel overwhelmed because we’re “so busy.” In reality, we’re just not planning effectively.
Step 5: Taking Action
Putting your plan into action is where the magic happens. If you’re setting yourself up for success, you’ll make micro-adjustments from one week to the next. Remember, incremental improvement is your goal. Please don’t try to make enormous changes right away. I’d much rather you show up for 10% of your big plan than get so overwhelmed by aiming for 100% that you make no progress. The only thing I call failure is quitting, so doing 10%, or even 1%, is still success. Go through your day, doing what you can to adhere to your schedule.
Step 6: Nightly Check-In
Just getting to this point is a milestone unto itself! This last step is important, but also something most people avoid, especially at first. That resistance is normal, and seeing it for what it is—resistance, not failure—is a huge part of your personal development journey. As you practice ETM, life, as well as your emotions, will get in the way. That’s normal. This is a process, and again, your focus needs to be on progress, not perfection.
Every night I want you to look at your calendar and take a minute to consider what’s happening tomorrow. I like to visualize things involved in our morning routine: Do we have breakfast food in the house? Will one of my kids freak out about socks? Have I prepped my food yet?
I also visualize my workday: Is there anyone I need to communicate with? Are there any specific deliverables I need to complete? Nothing is too mundane or complex. Just try to picture what might happen tomorrow and, when possible, go do a little prep—for example, find socks for your child or take a quick inventory of your pantry. You don’t have to “do it all” before bedtime. Just get grounded in what’s coming up so you can prepare mentally and logistically!
Excerpted from Dying To Be a Good Mother: How I Dropped the Guilt and Took Control of My Parenting and My Life by Heather Chauvin. Copyright © 2021 by Heather Chauvin. Excerpted with permission from Page Two Books.