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Moving from Increased Energy to Increased Satisfastion

12 April 2022

Janie revisited Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Matthew Kelly and reflected on what she’s learned since she began working to increase her energy.

Tags: balance, janie read, off balance

In my last blog post I shared that reading Off Balance by Matthew Kelly earlier this year helped me recognize that before I could begin to make progress on my goals and work to increase my overall satisfaction, I had to improve my energy.

I experimented with adding in two short stretch breaks each workday, drinking water more consistently, and having a plan for lunch. I’m happy to report that doing these three things consistently really worked! I’ve had more energy day-to-day, and this has led to better focus and increased productivity. I’m not perfect and there were days when I wasn’t successful at incorporating all three of these daily habits. I learned that I could see a dramatic difference in my energy level when I didn’t come to work prepared with lunch or didn’t take the time to refill my water and take my stretch breaks. In addition to continuing these daily habits, I think one thing that is still missing is some form of regular activity. Exercise is something that I enjoyed and incorporated much more successfully into my life before I had children. I haven’t been able to maintain any kind of consistent exercise since I had kids and I’m ready to work on adding this back in.

We recently got a new puppy, Smokey, and having him around has provided me with added motivation to get up and move more, but it still hasn’t been as consistent as I would like. I’ve been working to incorporate a 15 - 20 minute walk every day, but I’m not always successful. Originally, I was thinking I would try to incorporate a walk first thing in the morning. However, mornings in our house already are complicated with just getting everyone organized and out the door on time. Even though I’ve been telling myself I want to fit in a morning walk, my desire hasn’t been enough to make it happen. Last week, when I was talking things through with Allison, she helped me realize that it might be easier to incorporate a daily walk if I do it immediately after I get home from work, before doing anything else. She helped me come up with the plan to tell my family that they’re welcome to join me or not, but I’m leaving as soon as I change my shoes. It’s only been a few days, but so far, they’ve joined me every time.

You might be thinking, adding in daily habits is great, but what if I want to make a bigger change? I’m ready for a bigger change as well. In fact, that’s what led me to pick up Kelly’s book in the first place. I’m ready to leave behind feelings of daily overwhelm and replace them with satisfaction. I knew my path needed to start with changing some small habits, but now that I’ve gotten my energy into a better place, I’m ready to be more strategic.

In the book, Kelly said “Without a strategy, failure in almost anything is inevitable…If we are going to experience high levels of personal and professional satisfaction (PPS), we need to pursue PPS strategically.” Kelly recommended taking 30 minutes before the start of the work week to conduct a “weekly strategy session.” This involves identifying the key projects that you need to make progress on and allocating key tasks or projects to each day of the week. Kelly said when he doesn’t follow this process, his life ends up “hijacked by the urgent things, which quickly diminish my energy for the most important things at work and the things I love doing personally.” This quote really resonated with me because I experience this phenomenon all the time. Kelly does his weekly strategy sessions on Sundays. My original thinking had been to incorporate my weekly strategy session at the end of my workday on Friday. I liked the idea of ending the week with a plan in place for the following week. However, after talking my thinking through with Rachel, I realized that what I really need to spend some time strategizing on Friday afternoon is a plan for my weekend. I want my weekends to include preparations for the week (like restocking groceries and doing some meal prep), but I also want them to include some fun. If I don’t have a plan, the weekend often ends up over before I know it, and I find that either we devoted the weekend to cleaning up and planning for the week and didn’t have any fun, or we over indexed on the fun, and aren’t well prepared for the week (which leads to me feeling behind and stressed before the week even gets started).

Recognizing that I need to devote some time to planning my weekend on Friday afternoons, led me to decide that my weekly strategy session for work should happen either on Sunday afternoon / evening, or first thing Monday morning. It’s important that I find a time when I have both the energy and the discipline to think strategically about the tasks on my plate and the time available to focus on them. Depending on how the weekend goes, sometimes my energy is completely depleted by Sunday night, and I’m better served going to be bed early and devoting time for my weekly strategy session the next morning when I’m not so exhausted. I am confident that carving out time for this at the start of my week will increase my productivity, which will move me closer to achieving my goals, and help me continue moving toward increased satisfaction.

If you are also working toward achieving new goals and would be interested in discussing any of the things I’ve mentioned in this post, or having an accountability partner, please reach out to me at jck@allisonpartners.com. I’d love to have someone to help hold me accountable to everything I’m working to achieve.


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