As humans, we want what we can’t have: more time. If only I had an extra three hours in the day, you tell yourself. But having extra time isn’t the key to getting more done – managing your energy is.
Time management is important, of course, but not enough gets said about preparing yourself: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If you’ve got a child in Year 12, it’s a great time to learn this because it’s crunch time – as they’re welcomed back from holidays with a stream of assignments that are all due at once.
The different forms of energy
When your teenager is hit with more responsibilities, looming deadlines and an increased workload, they need to be prepared. We’re not meant to run at full speed, for the entire year. Yet, this is expected in Year 12.
Lead performance expert, Tony Schwartz, talks about the four keys to transforming the way we work and live. And the core of his messages? Energy.
He says we can be our best when we move between depleting and renewing our body’s four core energy needs:
- Physical energy – health
- Emotional energy – happiness
- Mental energy – focus
- Spiritual energy – purpose.
See? It’s got little to do with time. Why? Because time is a limited resource and energy isn’t. Simple rituals and habits can help your children manage the (inevitable) setbacks that’ll occur – in Year 12 and beyond.
10 techniques to manage your energy
Here’s a few ways you can support your kids to maintain high energy levels to foster success:
- Take daily naps: Schedule 10-30-minute naps around the time when their energy dips. Learn the signs of imminent energy flagging such as yawning, hunger, distraction and fatigue.
- Exercise regularly: Teenagers might not want to listen to you when it comes to exercise (just yet), so encourage sport with their friends. It’s good for their physical and social health. Plan nightly family walks after dinner, too.
- Happiness triggers: Identify their ‘sweet spot’ activities. The things that bring them joy and fulfilment. It could be sport, music, art or spending time with friends. The same goes for their distractions. Know the things that interrupt their focus.
- Discover values: Help them first find, then live, their core values from an early age. This will aid in building their resilience and ability to deal with adversity.
- Journaling: While not every child loves writing, journaling is a great tool to help them process emotions and ‘get it out of their head.’ It can be done through other ways, too, like listening to music and walking. The point is for them to get to know themselves better.
- Use the Pomodoro technique: This method uses a timer to break down work into focused blocks. Use your mobile phone and set the timer for 25 or 45 minutes (based on your length of focus) and take a five-minute break between the blocks. Breathe, meditate, grab a drink or go for a walk. Aim for five focused blocks without distractions. Do this with your child. It’s a good skill to learn at any age.
- Tackle the hard things first: Determine what the hardest task is and start with it first thing in the morning. Our minds are alert, sharp, and ready to tackle the big, critical task of the day.
- Avoid things that sap energy: Observe your child’s energy peaks but also when they’re feeling drained. It could be a person who’s taking their energy instead of uplifting it. Poor diet, screen time, and sitting down too much are also common energy suckers.
- Learn to relax: Redefine your relationship with downtime. You don’t always need to be ‘on.’ Know the difference between when your child is being lazy or just needs a break.
- Do an energy audit: Take time to identify the different ways that you either use up or deplete physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. How could you improve in each area?
Go through the following questions:
- Waking up feeling tired?
- Working out enough?
- Taking regular breaks to renew and recharge?
- Finding yourself feeling irritable, overwhelmed, angry or emotionally volatile?
- Feeling like you don’t have enough time for the activities you love?
- Finding it difficult to focus on one thing at a time?
- When do you have the most energy during the day? What time does it start to drop?
Be honest with yourself. If you can do this, you’ll help set your children up for great success.