If you’re reading this then chances are that you are a passionate creative like me.
Any work we do as creatives takes 2 kinds of personal resources, energy and time. Time is a more understandable finite resource which I’ll address at a later time.
Energy is like magic. It can disappear unexpectedly and also miraculously fill us. It’s completely renewable and expandable. Spending time understanding your own energy is well worth the effort because making even small, purposeful shifts can create powerful outcomes. Knowing how to generate more of this resource can be the biggest factor in living a balanced creative life and keeping creative work flowing.
All energy can be separated into 3 categories: physical, mental, emotional. (There may be an influential spiritual component but I’m still researching this aspect).
The first step in creating more energy is to track and evaluate your energy in some way to become AWARE of how each of these categories affects you. Bringing this information to a conscious level and observing the ebb and flow of your energy will create the space for change. I used an “energy audit” I created for myself.
As I used my energy audit to see what was draining or energizing me, I gained a better understanding of where I want to focus my reenergizing efforts. Gathering this data helps me hone in on making the most impactful changes.
I prioritize sustaining my energy for relationships, my business and creative work. So any energy drain that impacts those is something I immediately want to address. Adding in (or doing more of) what energizes me as I focus on those priorities is just as important. By working on these incrementally, I begin to balance each one and, ultimately, my life in its entirety. I make better informed decisions about my time, procrastinate less, produce more authentic work and just enjoy the whole process more.
How to DO an energy audit
*I used my own energy audit guide to do my work. If you would like one of your own, click HERE to get the pdf to download.
An energy audit is an evolving list of what energizes or drains you of the energy you want. To do this, take your time and make as complete of a list as you can. It could even take a few weeks. The goal is not to rush it but to gain clarity on your own energy.
The audit itself is actually very simple (but powerful!). Within the 3 categories list write only what fills you with energy OR what drains your energy. Here are some prompts consider in each to help you:
Physical – Consider your body (health), your habits, surroundings including people, places and/or things
Mental – What do you think about? What beliefs do you have about yourself, others, your creative work?
Emotional – Our emotions can be a HUGE factor in whether we feel energized not. Think of some emotions you frequently experience. Do you feel light or heavy after you experience them? Add any of those to the appropriate section.
What to DO with an energy audit?
To use the information in this audit to live a more sustainable creative life:
- Do MORE of what energizes you
- Do LESS of what drains you OR
- CHANGE what drains you into something that feels more neutral or gives you energy
Start with the items that feel like they have the most impact.
To illustrate how you can do this yourself, I’m going to share personal examples from each of the 3 categories. See if these resonate with you. If so, feel free to use them to get yourself started. I’ve also included my thoughts on how I’m using the information for my benefit.
Energizing: Being in nature. I instantly know that this is energizing for me. After even a short time outside, my energy feels renewed. If I could do this every day, it would be amazing. Adding this to my weekly schedule would be hugely beneficial!
Draining: Travel. I’m a landscape photographer and love to travel to my favorite inspiring locations. When considering travel, I want to recognize that this drains me energetically. I may decide to not say yes to a travel opportunity. OR, for me it’s better to build in rest time to my travel schedule. This way I the energy drain is, hopefully, net neutral.
Energizing: Seeing my successes. This is so fun for me! It’s something that feels amazing when I do it. I would like to do this more often so making a plan to do this weekly will help renew my energy.
Draining: Self-criticism. Ugh. Yes. This is such an energy suck. I know I am sometimes my own worst critic when it comes to my creative work. I can neutralize the energy drain on this by creating a protocol to freeze the criticism when I notice I’m doing it (without the extra negative judgment). This a practiced skill that I do myself and teach my clients.
Energizing: Confidence. Yes! Confidence is feeling trust in my abilities. I like to keep the energy of this one going by reminding myself of this: “I can figure anything out.” I love keeping this on a sticky note nearby.
Draining: Frustration. I used to get so frustrated at so many things such as an image not turning out the way I’m expecting it to. Just knowing that it’s energy draining helps me to instantly stop when I catch myself feeling it. I like to replace it with curiosity and/or compassion which can actually be energizing for me.
Creating more of the energy I want has been some of my most productive work ever! It’s an ongoing process and, to keep from getting overwhelmed, I only work on 2-3 at a time. I advise this for YOU too. The last thing you want to do is drain your energy by analyzing your energy! (You see the irony here I’m sure.)
When you shift into creating more energy, you live in a way that feels great and sustainably supports the creative life you want to live.
***Get my already-done-for-you Energy Audit Guide. Click HERE to get the download!***
P.S. I use this audit with my clients when I help them master the Art of Sustainable Creativity. Come find out more!