February 25, 2020

Energy budgeting – creating creative abundance

Energy and time are our most valuable commodities. Both of them either work together or work against each other. In the past, I would get lost in the distractions of “fillers” and “urgent tasks”…and by mid-afternoon all my energy would be gone. I had spent most of my day doing odds and ends with no clear mission in mind, unless a burst of inspiration ignited my motivation for something on my ever growing to-do list.

Energy budgeting with your daily planner

The worst is how I felt. I was listless, un-motivated, and annoyed that I didn’t get anything actually important done…and these feelings did nothing but fuel a cycle of “meh-ness” and half-hearted attempts. I would sit down to write and it would feel like pushing string. My creative juices were gone. Why? I used that creative energy up in the morning with social media, that somehow went much longer than planned. You feel me. As for physical energy, I was already tired. My habit of hopping from project to project, cleaning half a room, then checking the mail, then doing the recycling, and then making a snack…ugh. I was becoming even more scattered than I already am…and if you know me, you don’t want me anymore scattered. Trust me. 

Like a bank account, I had to learn to budget my currency of energy. Because if I didn’t, I would run out of energy for the things I actually needed it for.

The first thing I did was take a giant step back and ask myself a few simple questions.

What drains my energy? 

✨Feeling rushed in the morning (hence not starting the day the way that brings me life)

✨Scattered tasks that have no defined focus (a little bit of everything is discouraging) 

✨Waking late and going to bed late

✨Knowing there’s a mess somewhere in the house (that feeling of impending doom, and yes, I’m dramatic) 

✨A dark room, closed blinds 

✨Social media first thing (sucks the life right out of me)

What gives me energy? 

✨Getting up early and going to bed early

✨My very specific morning routine

✨A light breakfast (I HAVE to eat in the morning, but I don’t like much or I feel ‘meh’)

✨A clean space

✨A workout

✨Creative projects

✨Walking in the fresh air, sunshine (gets my creative juices flowing)

✨Going to bed knowing the house is tidy and organized

How many of us hit the pillow at night exhausted, completely drained and yet feel that we didn’t get the things we wanted done? What would be the smartest way FOR ME to use my energy? Everyone is different, so I had to think about my schedule, the answers to the above questions, and make a custom plan. First, I figured out what my energy high/lows were for at different times of the day, also what kind of energy was it? Mental/creative? Physical energy? What tasks take brain power or can be accomplished somewhat mindlessly?


I realized that I have a fairly consistent flow of different energies. In the morning my brain is clean and buzzing with ideas, my writing just flows, and any artistic tasks I have feel easy. That seems a lot harder in the middle of the day. Morning is my creative energy.


As the day progresses, my creative energy is replaced with doing. This tends to be when I run mindless errands, have afternoon coffee with a friend, clean the house, write emails, do administration tasks, or I might work on something I’m learning like language studies or an online course. Afternoon is less mental, more action energy.


Once it’s evening, when I’m just at home, I will concentrate in restoring and filling what’s been drained. This might mean making a meal at home, having a bath, doing art on my iPad, getting ideas via Pinterest or Instagram, FaceTiming family, watching a comedy, or shutting the world completely out with a good book, candles, and a honey mask. Evening is about refilling the energy that has been spent. 

Once I realized the key energy highs and lows of my day, it really helped me when I planned (always a loose word with me) my daily agenda. 

After identifying the key times for certain energies, as well as knowing what things drained or gave back to me I could place those activities/tasks in the right time slot.

How to manage your energy for the most productive day

For example, consuming content through social media is a big drain and distractor. I love how I can feel inspired and connected to others through this medium, but the time for me to do this is when I’m tired or relaxing as it takes no energy to do. Perfect for the evening. 

Morning rule: Create content before I consume it (thank you Marie Forleo for this hot tip).

For me, this means: no social media or texts (other than time sensitive messages and/or texts from husband) until after breakfast – other apps that include devotionals, meditations, and bring me life are fine. I know which ones they are.

First thing in the morning, I will do my morning routine. I will cultivate life by feeding my creativity with morning pages and filling my heart with joy and purpose through prayer, writing, deep breathing, and meditation. This is an energy top up. 

If I haven’t done it the night before, I will make a to-do list for the day. I will choose to write down several tasks and sort them by when I have the most energy (creative, mental, or physical) for it.

When do you have the most creative energy? What sucks your energy the most and what makes you feel motivated and energetic? How do you plan your day?

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