Now time management seems like it's not enough. I find I often have time to do something, like an hour after dinner or so, but I lack the energy to do it. And that is a problem.
I'm not the type of person who strives to be all productive all day with no downtime, and no room for spontaneity or doing nothing but there are quite a few things that I want to get done every day, and I get grumpy if I don't manage that.
I read something on the internet about a guy who schedules three minute meetings, for example, that is not what I want to do with my life. Planning like that means that every thing that you haven't planned for – like being stuck in traffic – means your whole schedule gets thrown off course.
On the contrary, I have learned to plan for buffer time between things. When I stop teaching for the day I could theoretically just turn around, sit down and do something else. But experience tells me that I often need about fifteen minutes to wait for the student to leave, pack away everything I needed for teaching, check my email one more time, and maybe read something on ravelry.
Of course I would be more productive if I didn'tdo that but forcing myself to not do it usually just makes me cranky and after a few days I go on strike and spend all my time surfing the web. If I allow myself that fifteen minutes I'm happy to start practicing afterwards. Or making dinner, or doing strength training, or whatever.
Now I've talked about this at least on the podcast but elsewhere as well but my big revelation in the past few weeks was that time is really not the problem, energy is.
The way my life is structured right now I should have about an hour or two each night where I can do something productive, and I can still eat dinner in peace, do the dishes, read and have quiet time before bed.
I am definitely not a night owl so the things I schedule at that time are usually things like, “watch a video about book marketing”, or sewing, or spinning. Nothing taxing, nothing that I need a lot of concentration or energy for.
So I had scheduled that – very sensibly – and I had even managed to wash the dinner dishes in a timely manner instead of playing iPad games or reading, and then I found I was just way too tired and couldn't do anything anymore.
So I declared defeat and went to bed, read for two hours and turned the lights out too late. And was angry at myself for not getting the things done that I wanted to.
After a few days of that I got really angry, and so I told myself that I absolutely had to sit down, spin and watch a video, even if there was not a morsel of energy left in me anymore.
So I moaned and groaned, and moved my spinning wheel in front of the computer and spun and watched that video for half an hour.
And then the funny thing happened.
I had more energy instead of less.
That was strange.
My very first impulse when I am feeling low on energy is always, always to sit back and do nothing. I mean, that is how you recharge, right? I already know that doing nothing for a long period of time makes me feel completely limp and unable to cope with life, so I force myself to exercise even when I feel like I have no energy at all because I know from experience that exercise makes me feel more energetic in the long run. But not giving in to that evening slump felt completely impossible.
My theory (and not only mine, check out “The Power of Full Engagement” for more on this) is that there are several kinds of energy that I have and need. Physical energy, mental energy, social energy, all kinds. And all of them need replenishing. And sometimes what I need is not to sit and read and do nothing but instead to move something forward that's important to me.
So the past two weeks or so I have forced myself to practice for the upcoming performance. Even though I felt awful and tired and exhausted beforehand. I still didn't feel all that energetic afterwards but I didn't feel more tired and exhausted either.
And the funny thing is that I have had less trouble sleeping. I guess my subconscious is feeling better because I'm taking care of things that are important to me.
Who would have thought that there were so many things to learn yet?