19 Energy Management Tips to Boost Energy If You’re a Creative

April 13, 2022


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Article by Colette Nichol, Story Strategist and Solo Filmmaker

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Do you need some energy management tips?

Maybe you need to boost energy. Maybe you’re done with trying to hack time management or productivity because you know that no matter what new planning tool you use, you still feel tired!

This article and video is here to help you boost your energy so that you can achieve your most important creative projects without burning out. So, scroll down, watch the video, and then review the 19 energy management tips for some ideas on how to get your energy back.

Energy Management for Creatives
As a creative (which is most of us humans on earth…) you NEED to have energy to do your most important work and pursue passion projects.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking, “I’m tired…” waaaaay before your bedtime…then this post is for you. If we don’t manage our energy as creatives, then we don’t have the motivation to make new things, come up with new ideas, and pursue our passions.

Step 1: Watch this Video!

Step 2: Read the Rest of the 19 Tips

While many people think that time management is the most important thing as a creative professional, I’d hazard to say that it’s actually ENERGY management that matters most.

Have you ever gotten so burned out that you wanted to curl up like a snail in the middle of the day and just call it quits? Well, what exactly causes burnout? Is it just bad luck? 

Are you feeling super tired and down in the dumps because you’re just horrible at managing your time?

If I had to make a guess, the answer would be no. You’re exhausted and potentially veering towards burnout because you’ve yet to master the delicate art of managing your energy.

To see better results in your daily life including feeling happier, more motivated and excited about life, you don’t even have to become a master. But it will help to try out some of the 19 tips that I’ve listed for you below.

Who am I? And why should you listen to my thoughts on how to boost energy?

Hi, I’m Colette! I’m a filmmaker, business owner, educator, and all-around multi-hat-wearing creative who loves to do a trazillion projects at once. This means (obviously!) that I’ve had some serious energy issues in the past. But because I’m not one to quit when things get hard, I’ve had to figure out how to manage my energy. This doesn’t mean I’m perfect at it.

But it does mean that I’m pretty good. So here are the things that I’ve figured out and that work for me. You don’t have to do all of these things. But try to take a look at the list and see if any of them pop out for you as major offenders that you could fix. 

If you’re circling burnout, feeling exhausted, or are simply ready to feel energized again, then this post is for you. Enjoy!

Boost Energy Naturally

You don’t need to start guzzling Redbull or drinking seven gallons of coffee per day to feel energized.

In fact, doing either of those things is probably a terrible idea. Instead, focus on eating at least one good meal per day (protein, fat, veggies, some carbs…whatever…just make sure it doesn’t come from a bag!), getting lots of sleep, drinking water, and then testing out some of these amazing energy management tips below.

If your food and sleep habits suck, then it’ll be hard to get the energy boost you need and want. But if you’re eating at least one good meal per day and aren’t overdosing on sugar daily, then all you need is some mindset, lifestyle, and so-called lifehack tweaks to feel so much better.

I’m kind of a personal development freak.

I LOVE trying new things and seeing what works and what’s a fail. So, I’ve done a lot of different random personal experiments. These 19 tips below on how to boost energy naturally and manage your energy (rather than your time) are what have worked for me.

19 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Become an Energy Management Wiz!

Boost Energy!
Which way is the energy boost!?!?

#1 Stop spending time with people who drain you.

I decided to “rid” my life of toxic people a few years ago.

It was 2015, and I’d just been stood up by a friend who was notoriously unreliable. I was heading back home, about to catch the bus, when I got a call from him. Apparently, he’d gotten into a fight with his boyfriend and that’s why he was late. But as I got off the phone with him, I realized that it wasn’t worth it. Toxic or just highly dramatic people are huge energy drains. Sure, they waste your time too. But the real issue is how tired they can make you feel.

If you’re a highly empathetic person you can end up with a lot of draining people in your life. So every now and then I have to reassess my life and see if I’ve accidentally let what some people call “Energy Vampires” into my life. If so, I do a little something called grey rocking them. You can learn more about that here.

#2 Get rid of as many energy drains as possible.

Basically, anything that you don’t like doing is an energy drain. To help identify energy drains you can take a minute at the end of your day to think about all the activities you did and write down the ones that GAVE you energy versus the ones that took energy away.

Then see if you can reduce the amount of time you spend doing things that drain energy.

Some common energy drains are meetings, Zoom calls, email management (OMG, I could write a whole post about this and probably should!) and dealing with messaging apps like Slack or even text.

Another big energy drain is being on your phone and simply having your phone in the room. When your phone is visible your mind will start thinking of things it can do with the phone, and this drains energy.

#3 Practice acceptance rather than resistance.

The more you resist and complain, the more tired you’re going to be.

For example, whenever I have difficulty with a client project I can either complain about it or I can take a deep breath, close my eyes and try to envision the answer to the issue.

If I’m struggling with a video edit, I’ll close my eyes and try to see the solution. This is much better than complaining or resisting the challenge.

Energy management is a puzzle.
Energy management is a unique puzzle. You’ll need to try different things until you find what works for you.

#4 Assess unfinished projects. Finish them or delete them. Unfinished projects are HUGE drains.

Having a long list of things that you know you want to do but haven’t will drain you big time. You will get a huge boost in energy if you start crossing things off the list.

#5 Spread out tricky projects over a few days i.e. chunk them.

First, you’ll get better ideas when you spread projects out over a few days. You’ll go to sleep and wake up with a new creative idea. But on top of that, you won’t be drained by trying to get it “perfect” on the first go. This is only true for tricky projects. I don’t like to let simple projects take too long as that’s another energy drain of its own.

#6 Beware of batching. 

This is so freaking important! Some productivity people will make you think you should batch everything i.e. do all the same activities all at once. But what if you HAVE to do a particular activity that you can’t stand. Should you really try to do the whole thing in a seven-hour session of pure misery?

No…you shouldn’t! For example, recently a woman who works with me was tasked with doing data entry for the blog. This is a super boring task. So I told her she could spread it out if she wanted to and do it over a week or so. I would be drained for days if I tried to do the whole project at once i.e. batching it.

But doing something you can’t stand for 30-60 minutes won’t drain you for days. You can take a break. Have a snack. Do something fun. Then your energy will recover. So please, beware of batching!

#7 Leave out your passion project i.e. camera, art supplies.

Doing stuff you love will recharge your energy. This is key to energy management. You need to delete drains, but you also need to recharge. So keep the stuff you love to do lying around if you can.

Doing things you love is a KEY part of energy management. You’ll get a huge energy boost just by doing something fun for 10 minutes per day.

#8 Do at least 10 minutes per day of something that really fuels you. Do it early!

I try to do at least 10 minutes of doodling every day. Usually, it’s way more than that. For me, the doodles are strategic and idea doodles. This puts me in a great mood and gives me lots of energy because I love to mess around with ideas.

What about you? What is something you love that you could do every single day and would give you energy? Try to do it early in the day and turn it into a non-negotiable.

#9 Ask for family/friend support and accountability.

If something matters and they are there to push you forward, they’ll give you an energy boost. When it comes to energy management ensuring your family is on board with your most important dreams and goals are important. You don’t want to be fighting the tides at home.

#10 Try out a freedom Friday or other day of the week that is just for your passion projects. 

You probably already know this is a big thing that Google does with employees. If you work for a company, try pitching the idea of freedom Friday to work on passion projects for the company. Allowing employees to have a free day to pursue a work-based passion project can actually be hugely profitable for a company.

If you can’t do this at your work, maybe you could schedule one day per month that is a YOU day. On this day you don’t have to answer to anyone and can do whatever the hell you want. This alone could be a big energy boost for you.

#11 Watch out for sneaky interpersonal drains like complaining and arguing or even just gossiping.

I’ve spoken about this a little bit already. But this is a good reminder. Pay attention to how your relationships affect you. Your friends might be wonderful and loving but have a bad complaining or gossiping habit. This will drain you. So just change the subject if someone starts gossiping or complaining too hard.

For me, I actually like listening to my friends complain as long as they are open to a few pieces of advice at the end and they aren’t repetitive. In other words, if a friend has a story-based complaint that they want help solving, I’m all ears! But if they’re just complaining about their bad boyfriend for the thousandth time, then I’m out.

Oh yes…we’ve probably all been guilty of this. Well, I have at least. Getting into spats with a loved on is a fantastic way to see your energy dwindle. If this is happening for you a lot in your romantic life, I recommend the book Getting the Love You Want and The Big Leap.

#12 Watch out for sneaky digital drains like your inbox!

Often what feels productive and what actually is productive are not the same thing. When you do things that feel productive in the moment but actually don’t help you move towards your goals, you’ll find you’re running out of energy without seeing any gains.

Digital drains like email might feel productive but they rarely move the needle on your important projects. What else is a sneaky digital drain that doesn’t really add much value to your life or your bottom line?

#13 Know what’s going to move the needle, and focus on that.

So first, list out what’s going to move the needle in your life. If you have goals or dreams or ideas, write out what actions and projects will move those things forward. I follow the five-project rule and only allow 5 projects at one time. Then I use that list of 5 projects as my check-in. If it’s not on that list, it doesn’t matter and so I’m allowed to let it go.

#14 Forget guilt.

You can try to make up for what you’ve done, but you don’t need to carry guilt around on your back like a sack of potatoes. It doesn’t help you or anyone else!

Most of us feel guilty about stuff that doesn’t even make sense. For example, for years I felt guilty about helping my husband Jimmy move to Canada with me because I felt like I’d robbed him of his family life in his country of Ecuador.

It took me a long time to get over that guilt and realize that he came here because he wanted to be with me. I’m not a villain. But then after taking a course from Elizabeth Dialto, I was able to go even deeper and just let go of guilt as a concept and feeling in my life! It’s so energizing to be guilt-free. (Way better than being gluten-free.)

Are you judging yourself too much? Try to let go of guilt and judgment.

#15 Take breaks for rest. REST is fuel! Walking, napping, etc.

There’s even science to back this up. Rest by Alex Sooting-Kim Pang is a must-read if you are horrible at letting yourself rest. There are tons of books on the importance of rest, so if you’re a serial workaholic…this list is for you.

According to Soojung-Kim Pang, rest is “an important component of working well and working smart.” But rest isn’t just sitting on the floor doing nothing. Having sex or going for a run are considered a rest. To my mind, anything that gives me energy and doesn’t require a lot of cognition is rest.

#16 Get rid of constant decision-making by having systems.

ake the same things on a rotation.

Whatever it is that slowing you down, see if there’s a system you can implement that will take the thinking out of it.

#17 Don’t work with people whose values don’t align with yours.

This is huge. HUGE I tell you! I’ve had experiences working with people whose values didn’t align with mine and it’s always ended in a big muddy puddle where I feel drained and need to recover.

For me, honesty, clarity and good intentions are really important. So now, as soon as I see a misalignment with my values I opt out of working with someone. I’ve burned bridges with clients who I know don’t operate in from a place of honesty and authenticity. And, I don’t mean burning the bridges by not delivering. But instead by not coddling people who are unreasonable.

The best way to ensure that you don’t end up working with people whose values aren’t aligned with you is by having strong boundaries and always sticking up for yourself. You will repel the people who want to take advantage of you.

#18 Stop undercharging.

If you’re working as an employee this is harder to do. But you can try to negotiate a raise. Simply ask your employer what their main goals are and how you can help them achieve those goals. Then ask them what that would be worth to them.

Then go ahead and help them achieve those goals. Next, schedule a meeting to talk about compensation. Remind them of how you’ve helped them achieve their goals and plan on doing so in the future. Then ask for a 20% raise.

If they don’t want to give it to you, start looking for another job. One of the best ways to get a pay raise is to job hop.

But if you’re a business owner, the buck stops with you. Try to charge a little bit more than feels comfortable every single time you price something. And just keep pushing the price up until it actually meets the market value.

Or, just price yourself at the market value right away!

Additionally, if you’re a creative, please realize that you’re not a commodity and if you sell people results, not widgets you can earn a lot more. People are happy to pay for results.

Working on projects that don’t pay enough can be a huge emotional drain.

#19 Do bigger projects rather than a bunch of tiny ones.  

This is for artists, creatives, and other self-employed people. You earn more money when you do big projects because every single project you take on has a ramp-up stage that costs you time. So try to work with the same people over and over and give them more results. This is better for you and them in the long run. And you’ll earn more money and have more energy.

For myself, I find the getting-to-know-you stage of a new client relationship to be a big energy investment. So I try to work with people frequently rather than doing million tiny projects.

#20 BONUS: Wim Hoff or another breathing technique!

And finally, if I’m really in need of an energy boost I do Wim Hoff. This breathing technique can be a great way to give yourself a midday boost if you’re about to wilt like a week-old daisy. You know the after-lunch crash? Well, Wim Hoff breathing can help with that. Eating more protein and less sugar can also prevent the afternoon crash. But I don’t want to tell you what to do with your food.

Or, if you’re into breathing techniques that give you energy and you want something more CALM, then check out this freebie I created on Resonance Breathing.

#21 BONUS: Know Your Chronotype and Design Your Life Around It

This is an advanced tip but one that can completely transform your life. I’ve embraced my chronotype for about four years now. To find out more about your chronotype, read the full blog post I’ve written on this topic here

What about You?

So what do you think?

Is there any option on that list that could help you get re-fueled and boost your energy?

If you’re stuck and want to feel more creative and have way more energy then check out the program I created with my friend and artist Faye Mallett called Deep Creative Magic. It’s an amazing way to deepen your creativity and boost your energy!

Get Deep Creative Magic to Boost Your Energy & Your Creativity!

Click below to find out more about how you can renew your creativity and get clear on what you actually want to be doing with your time and life. CLICK HERE for Deep Creative Magic!

Did You Like This Article?

I usually write about filmmaking, storytelling, and creativity. So if you’re interested in those topics then go HERE and get on the email list. Or if you need a real energy boost and would also love to feel more creative, then check out the online program Deep Creative Magic right HERE>>>

About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

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