Creating a lifestyle that results in more energy may mean you'll need to take a few things off your plate. Don't worry, when you practice some of these suggestions, you'll find that you become more productive even though you are working less.
Have you ever been trying to fall asleep but your mind keeps trying to write a list? Do you replay conversations you had yesterday over and over in your head? Maybe you find yourself worrying about an aspect of your parenting and whether you are doing it right or not? If this sounds like you, it might benefit you to work on getting out of your head!
People who overthink things can become overwhelmed with self-doubt, fear, and concerns to the point of paranoia in some cases that just leave you feeling on edge non-stop.
Here's an example, a young woman who was babysitting for a young couple with one child and one on the way. She babysat the toddler during the occasion while the mother was giving birth to the new baby. After the couple came home with the new baby, the sitter didn't hear from them for several days. She asked if I thought they were upset with her for some unknown reason. My response was, maybe they are focused on the new baby? Of course, not long after they were asking her to babysit again.
She'd been overthinking things because she always wants to do her very best. She had started feeling paranoid that she'd unknowingly done something wrong. The time she'd spent overthinking was wasted time, lesson learned.
Do you see how getting your thinking patterns back in order can create a lifestyle that results in more energy?
First, stop the overwhelm
I love schedules and routines, but I've had to learn to rule them and not let them rule me. In the past, I would get overwhelmed by my to-do list until I started asking myself what the worst outcome would be if I missed an item on my schedule. Acknowledging that the world would not come to an end if I had to reschedule an appointment helped me.
It also helped me to be able to see something that needed to be done and know that I did have a scheduled time to take care of that. Believe it or not, that is the freedom that comes from following a specific cleaning routine. The knowledge that each task is in a rotation and while my windowsill might be dusty today, it's day will come.
Second, give yourself room to breathe: Switch Off Your Smartphone
When I tell people that I turn my phone completely off two hours before I go to bed, they're almost always surprised. Powering off the mobile isn't for everyone; for me it's self-care. This habit gives me some breathing space to have bonding time with my kids without the disruption and distraction of allowing everyone to have access to me 24/7. Doing this also gives my brain some essential and much-needed downtime.
Realize that play, fun, and joy are helpful when it comes to getting out of your head and even for creating a lifestyle that results in more energy. I started scheduling in some fun and play that had no purpose other than just because I enjoyed it. Engaging in activities that absorb me to the point that I lose all sense of time. It's those things that we find so enjoyable that we lose awareness of the world around us, for you it may be playing the guitar or swimming or whatever.
Enjoyable activities for creating a lifestyle that results in more energy include a wide variety of things. For some people it could be writing poetry, others may prefer knitting, or running! Whatever your thing is, find it, engage in it, enjoy it. You will be surprised at how much calmer and more relaxed you will be overall, not just when you are enjoying your favorite activity.
Third, stop multitasking to create lifestyle that results in more energy
Multitasking means you are not fully concentrated on any of the tasks you are doing. When I started to see it that way I realized that I needed to be more mindful of what I am doing when I am doing it.
I read a book a while back that suggested that we not focus on balance because not everything is equally important. The idea made sense to me. My natural inclination was always to give certain things more time and priority and that makes sense because tasks are simply more important than others.
For example, if I wake up with only a certain amount of energy due to health challenges I'm facing, would it be best to use my energy equally divided between grocery shopping, scrubbing the kitchen, meeting with a friend, and my children? I don't think so! Relationships are more important than a clean kitchen, and I can delegate grocery shopping to instacart. So I'm going to give more priority, hence more time and energy, to my family than going to the supermarket.
It takes practice but acknowledging that multi-tasking meant I was not concentrating on some of those tasks helped me to become more mindful. I recently shared a status on Facebook that suggested we focus on one task at a time. A friend commented that he was surprised to hear this coming from a woman. Well, that's because as women we certainly do try to multi-task!
You may have heard the saying, if you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes. It means to give priority to the task you are doing. We hear a lot about mindfulness these days. Maybe that is because there are so many good things we are spreading ourselves a bit too thin. Try giving your full attention to the task you are doing at that moment and fully engage in the present. When you do this you will not be worrying about the past or the future; you'll be fully present in your life at that moment. It does take some practice, but I encourage you to do this.
Increased productivity from focusing on one thing at a time
I started using an extension on my browser called Pocket that has helped me focus. Instead of having dozens of tabs open, if I find an article I want to read I just add it to “pocket” with a few tags then go about my day. I only have one tab open, at the most two if I am referencing something in an article I am writing. The idea is to only work on one project at a time.
Since I started practicing concentrated focus, my productivity level has increased tremendously. It's hard to believe, but I get more done than I used to when I worked on several projects at once.
Learning to be mindful has helped me to be more clear headed. I've become more aware of the quality of my mindfulness; sometimes I'm calm and occasionally agitated. Being mindful helps me to work through my feelings because I am more aware of them.
If you need to start from scratch learning mindfulness try just to stop and look around you, notice five things around you that you can see, five things you can hear, and five things you can feel, take five breaths slowly and deeply emptying your lungs fully with each exhale. Now recognize what's going through your mind. Just observe and accept, resist the urge to judge whether or not your feelings and thoughts are good or bad. Bring your thoughts away from comparisons and remind yourself that the past is behind you and now it exists only in your mind. It can help to picture the past as an old movie.
Fourth, learn to restructure any negative recurring thoughts
Negative thoughts really do burn up our energy unnecessarily. So, if you can tame them you'll instantly build a lifestyle that results in more energy.
Negative thought: Everyone is more successful than I am.
Restructure: What is my definition of success, why do I feel that other people are more successful than myself. What are my strengths? What can / do I do that makes me feel successful?
Restructuring negative thoughts can help you to stop ruminating over expectations and start focusing on opportunities.
Implement these four strategies and watch your energy levels soar!