Balance is Bogus– Manage Energy not Time

Every once in awhile, we like to share interesting articles we are reading on other blogs.  This one from Jody Urquhart, a motivational speaker and columnist, stuck a cord with the women working here at the WAgN office.  We thought you might find some useful insights from the article as well.  Read this and you’ll find out why laughing at my daughter splashing water ALL OVER the bathroom last night was a good choice.

Balance is Bogus– Manage Energy not Time

by Jody Urquhart

People are working longer than ever before and we are all expected to do more with less. With so much on our plates how can we possibly have balance? The simple answer is … we can’t. We each have only 24 hours in a day, no more and no less.

If we carry a greater workload, it will cut into our personal time. We are a time starved, time sensitive world. According to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 65% of employees believe they have more on the job stress than the generation before them. 28% of workers say they are burned out by their work

Add to this our propensity for eating too much, staying up late, drinking and overspending (My idea of a perfect day!) and we have the perfect recipe for stress. Statistically, we eat, drink and spend more but sleep less when we are overworked.

Your Energy Bank Account

The good news is life doesn’t have to be stressful for you. Instead of obsessing over managing all the demands made on your time, consider your ability to manage energy.

Think about your personal energy like a bank account where you body keeps track of energy. The things you do in your day either put energy into your account (like a bank deposit), or deplete the energy you have stored (like a withdrawal from your bank account).  If you don’t put enough energy in, but continue to make withdrawals, you create a deficit. Withdrawing from a zero energy balance creates burnout. Because you are using energy that is not available, you are taxing your bodies own natural resources.

Many things you do at work require energy; they are withdrawals from your energy account. For instance, when you are short staffed, or have an altercation with (or dream of killing) a co-worker, or host a visit from an auditor, work overtime, or neglect to take a break – these will all deplete energy from your account. Other things that will withdraw energy are lack of sleep, drinking too much caffeine, alcohol, or eating too much sugar or fat.

When you withdraw too much energy and your energy reserves are low, you run the risk of making poor decisions. For instance, you may over-react. You may get all excited about nothing (and than marry him!).

To cope with these energy consuming challenges you need to make sure you balance them with energy deposits throughout the day.

To make deposits to your energy bank account:

Focus on the Basics:

1) Eat 3 meals a day involving all food groups

2) Drink at least 8 eight once glasses of water a day

3) Exercise

4) Get 8 hours of sleep each night

Laugh & Play More Often. Laughter is healthy and has been proven to be a natural stress reliever. Play naturally leads to heaps of laughter. The definition of play is there is no objective; it’s just for pure enjoyment. The philosopher Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Remember that the best way to forget all your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

Focus on Acts of Compassion. According to the Institute of Heartmath, in a state of compassion we decrease our blood pressure, decrease our stress hormones, and gain a feeling of control over our environment.

Acknowledge and Appreciate Others. Random Acts of appreciation go a long way to boost endorphins and decrease stress.

Be Realistic About What You Can and Can’t Accomplish. Ask am I doing the best I can  given the time and resources I have? If the answer is yes then appreciate yourself!

Take it One Day at a Time

Manage your energy by keeping track of activities that add or deplete energy on a day to day basis. Be mindful of your energy transactions, and make some intentional deposits when you feel your reserves dwindling.

Organizations that focus on wellness programs promote putting deposits into their employees’ energy bank accounts. It doesn’t have to cost money and it positively affects the bottom line. Encourage and even reward employees who take care of themselves.

For more information on Jody Urquhart, visit her website:

About Jessie Schmidt

Ag and Community Program Coordinator for the University of Vermont Extension.
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One Response to Balance is Bogus– Manage Energy not Time

  1. Thanks for posting the article. Hope you enjoy. love your blog!

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