As artists, entrepreneurs, and business women we all experience the same thing - hustling until we're exhausted, taking on more than we can handle to prove ourselves, and for some of us, letting other people suck our personal energy dry.
I used to fall prey to energy sucks all. the. time. I fell into the Instagram scroll trap. I said "yes" to pretty much everyone until I found myself scrambling to complete tasks, hustled part time jobs on top of my full time job and the blog, and eventually exhausted myself.
It's hard to say "no," especially in an industry that requires you to constantly network, be involved, and hustle to make it all work. As an entrepreneur in the beginnings of a business, I feel this struggle on top of trying to be active in the music industry. I don't have a team to help me yet, so I'm creating all the content, social media posts, producing the podcasts, and setting up new projects to create the Broken Glass community.
It wasn't until Labor Day arrived that I realized I spent my entire summer hustling, exhausted, and didn't check one thing off my summer bucket list. Beach trip? Nope, didn't get there. Museums? Didn't go there either. Hiking? I mean, it was too hot... I set hard and fast rules for myself to not only protect my physical energy levels, but my creative energy that fuels my business. Without creativity, what kind of business would I have?
My Favorite Energy Protection Methods:
Here are some of the rules I set for myself and the ways I've learned to protect my energy:
'No' is hard for me. I'm the kind of person that wants to please everyone and I hate letting anyone down, so I tend to accept any kind of project or request. I often take too much on at one time and then wind up scrambling to finish at the last minute. By saying “no” or taking a raincheck on something that is either going to drain my energy or not be productive for the business I:
Gain back time to be productive on my business
Protect myself: my energy, my mental health, and my physical health
Am in control of my life
Learning how to say “no” or “not today” gave me more time back into my schedule to create a business I’m proud of and also allowed me to set boundaries around myself. Next time something isn’t a “hell yeah!” try saying “no” or proposing another day or time. You might be surprised at how good it feels.
This is so important to do to protect your energy, and it's one that I focus on the most. For me, daily self-care usually contains the following:
Walking at least 10,000 steps a day
Taking time to write in my gratitude journal
Reading one to two chapters of a book
Spending time playing with my cat
Your self-care may look entirely different from mine, but nevertheless it's a mental and physical break from work. Even if your work is something you enjoy, you need to take time for yourself to protect your physical and creative energy.
Remove Time Sucks
This is a big one for me and another that I'm constantly working on. I procrastinate a lot at home and with the business, I get trapped inside Instagram or Pinterest, I don't use automation for simple tasks, and I want to do all the things.
(At one point, I actually said “no” out loud to myself to stop the Insta-scroll and move on to business)
I’m a big list person, so one way that I am able to go from project to project quickly without thinking about what’s coming next is by creating a daily or weekly to do list. Once it’s created, I don’t need to even think about what’s coming next - I look at my list and it’s right there. If I’m feeling even more inspired, I’ll organize it by priority or from easiest to hardest.
There are some excellent tools out there for project management and list making. Here are a few that I’ve used in various roles over the years, or that I’m finding helpful for the business:
Asana is great for me when I have a project that has multiple steps - such as creating a podcast episode which requires emailing the interviewee, setting up Zencastr, recording, editing, creating social, uploading, etc. Trello and Google Sheets set out the individual projects I have during the day - write a blog post, work on the podcast, and edit the website. I move the various projects between three lists: To Do, In Progress, Done. This way, I have a visual of what needs to be done, what I’m working on, and what is completed, rather than running it all through my head.
And sometimes, I revert back to a good old pen and paper to write out a list of things that need to be done right then and there.
The people in your life that is. Who takes up all your energy? Is there a friend (who you may love dearly) that wants to chat your ear off about things that just aren’t important to you at that particular time? Do you have a nit-picky client that you just can’t seem to please?
Note these people and the feelings, before, during, and after the interaction. If you find that there’s a particular person that a) wastes your time or b) drains your emotional and mental energy, then it might be time to say no to them, propose an alternate time when you may have more energy, shift responsibilities to someone else on your team, or in extreme cases, remove them from your life entirely.
The Ball is in Your Court
How are you going to keep up with your business and your creativity? It’s up to you to take action to protect and to fuel yourself in order to be healthy and successful in your career.