WHERE ARE YOU INVESTING YOUR TIME AND ENERGY?

Where are you investing your time and energy? In the things that fritter it away? Or in the things that matter? Choose wisely.

WHERE IS ALL YOUR ENERGY GOING?

Erica, a blogging friend of mine, once mentioned that she's very careful where she invests her energy these days. When she said that it rang a little bell deep within me - and woke me up to the fact that we all have only a finite amount of time and energy to give - and wasting it on things that aren't of value means we have less to give to the things that matter.

Lately I've seen a few quotes pop up on Facebook that reminded me of Erica's wisdom...

This one from PeacefulMindPeaceful Life was the first that caught my eye:

Be careful what you invest your time and energy into

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE

There's a well known bible verse that says:

Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces
(Matthew 7:6)

Which for today's post translates to - don't waste your time and energy on people or tasks that have no value.....because it will come back to bite you! Maybe not in an obvious-in-your-face kind of way, but certainly in a way that brings disappointment, stress, and an underlying weariness.

I spent far too long trying to do the right thing by everyone, trying to keep everyone happy, trying to do every little task that was thrown my way. It wasn't all that hard and it kept the peace. But what I've come to see now is that it's not good for my mental health to do that all the time, and it's not good to throw all my energy into things where I'm being taken advantage of. I need to be more discerning about where I invest myself. And as another Facebook quote reminded me - I can take my power back and use it more constructively.

The story of how you took your power back
via: spirit daughter

TIME AND ENERGY ARE FINITE

We all only have a finite amount of time and energy at our disposal each day. We can drain ourselves dry trying to pour it into every need that comes our way, or we can start prioritising what is truly valuable, and to let go of what would be a squandering of our resources. Sometimes it means saying "No" to people (and that can be really hard!) and sometimes it means turning down an invitation or a request. It's about prioritizing what's worth expending our energy on, and what needs to be allowed to pass by. We just can't be all things to all people all of the time - it's impossible.

via I Choose Brave FB

THE BEST I CAN DO

I also saw this quote on Facebook from Tiny Buddah that says it in a nutshell. We can only do our best, and to achieve that we have to decide what to hold onto and invest in, and what to let go. Sometimes it means releasing relationships that have run their course, sometimes it means releasing things that are hurting our hearts, sometimes it means releasing obligations that are eating our time and running us into the ground. And sometimes, what used to be a good fit isn't any longer and we have to admit that and move on.

I'm doing the best I can with what I have

IT ALL COMES BACK TO FOCUS

Rather than thinking we're super busy, important people, sometimes we have to take a deeper look and check in on whether we're pouring ourselves out so fast that we have very little left in reserve. This quote from Marc and Angel's Facebook page also rang true:

start managing your focus

Over the last decade or so I've been giving myself permission to refine my focus - to narrow it down a little and to ask myself whether something is going to be good for my soul before I throw myself into it. It's easy to say "Yes" to please others, it's hard to say "No" when it's something you could squeeze into your schedule. Ultimately though, you have to decide if it's a good fit, and if you have the time and energy to invest in it to the level it deserves. Don't burn yourself out trying to keep a million little candles alight - choose the important ones and focus on those. 

What you choose to invest in may not seem important to other people, but it's not other people who you need to worry about - it's your own health that matters - don't be selfish and hoard all your time and energy, but also don't be so self-less that you have nothing left at the end of the day. I've been there and it's not a great place to find yourself.

RELATED POSTS



Where are you investing your time and energy? In the things that fritter it away? Or in the things that matter? Choose wisely.

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive
Don't burn yourself out trying to keep a million little candles alight - choose the important ones and focus on those.

Where are you investing your time and energy? In the things that fritter it away? Or in the things that matter? Choose wisely.

43 comments

  1. I tried to comment on the Ipad and nope, wouldn't recognise me. A great post Leanne,and food for thought for many. Glad you have found such comfort and learning via these many sources. Life IS good!!

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    1. Hi Denyse - yes ipads and iphones and google often don't play nicely together unfortunately. Glad you found an alternative. And life is very good indeed!

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  2. The best quote is yours "Don't burn yourself out trying to keep a million little candles alight - choose the important ones and focus on those." Love it and am putting it on my desk at eye level. Thank you Leanne

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    1. Hi Judith - I'm so glad you liked it - it's something I remind myself of often because so many people want a piece of me at times, and I used to run around after them all - now I'm a little more discerning :)

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  3. Your post resonate so well with me. I have invested so much time and energy in other people only to find that those same people were not there for me when I needed them. Now, I choose carefully and when I see the same pattern being repeated I nip it in the bud. Life is too short and I have wasted enough time and energy on people and things that left me depleted. Leanne, thank you for that wonderful reminder to care of our self and to invest our time and energy on what really matter and to focus on what really brings us peace and contentment.

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    1. Hi Yvonne - I've been a people pleaser all my life (I think for me it's an oldest child thing?) There's a secondary level to it where I want to be liked, and by saying Yes to everything you're more likely to get 'liked' - but I've come to see that it often isn't a genuine connection or appreciation and there are people who use what you offer and then move on when someone new can offer them more. They're not my people - I want reciprocation and connection - and sometimes you have to say No to the shallow people and things so you can say Yes to the deeper ones xx

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  4. Don't burn yourself out trying to keep a million little candles alight - choose the important ones and focus on those. So right!

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  5. Hi, Leanne - Thank you for another very thoughtful post. Time and energy are finite and should not be wasted on the whims of others. You and Erica are very wise!

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    1. Hi Donna - Erica has so many little pearls that she casts around her - I'm hoping to absorb some of them - rather than not seeing their value. My time and energy feel very precious atm - so I'm doing my best to be wise in how I invest them :)

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  6. I've talked this topic with two different friends recently! One was complaining how busy she was. When I asked her why she was doing certain things if she wasn't enjoying them at all, she said her family expects it. They certainly don't appreciate what she does! I was trying to get her to realize she's choosing to spend her energy in places where she is not appreciated... and to maybe stop that. The other friend was pushing it even farther... talking about how sometimes you have to prioritize things you really want (not just things that are not bringing you joy) because your time and energy is limited.

    A couple of my personal challenges in this arena are 1) letting go of (long term) relationships that are not good for me, and 2) really, really knowing what I want versus what I think I should want. Both of those I am continuing to work through.

    Thanks for sharing all the quotes in this arena!

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    1. Hi Pat - it's definitely a conversation we need to have with ourself if we're feeling stressed or taken advantage of. There will always be some people who are happy to take and move on - and that's so draining. This sense of obligation that a lot of us carry around with us can be such a burden at times - and one that we can choose to put down if we start making some hard choices. I refuse to be sucked dry anymore and I'm getting so much better at saying no if I need to. If I lose someone or something because I put a boundary in place, then it wasn't meant to be part of my life.

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  7. Hi Leanne, Erica is a very wise woman! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and quotes so freely with us they all resonate with me too! Why do we wait until we are this age to tackle these thoughts I wonder? The Tiny Buddha quote says it all perfectly to me.

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  8. Dear Leanne, I read your post a few times while away from home and I wanted to be home on my laptop before commenting. Thank you for your kind, thoughtful mention of my name. ❤️

    I realize the concepts of time and energy are shared in many sources, yet certain words, context and timing resonate with me and likely all of us. You bring up many great points and quotes. You and I are both fans of Stephen Covey and Marcandangel along with many other things we have in common.😀

    The descriptions of “time” and “energy” can overlap, yet you describe well how certain people/events/circumstances can deplete our energy or fortify our spirit and energize us. As always, I find it interesting to read and learn from the comments, too.

    Thank you for a wise, thought-provoking post with many gems. Thank you for sharing your light, Leanne. xx ❤️

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    1. Erica I have benefited so much from your little pearls of wisdom since I've known you (including your Heidi Principle!) During this time of living with chronic pain I'm finding that everything takes more effort and is more tiring - so choosing where to invest the energy I have left has become even more important. I literally can't run around after everyone, I can't be all things to all people, and I just can't muster the 'get up and go' I need to juggle too much stuff.

      Seeing all these quotes appearing on my FB and Pinterest feeds over a couple of weeks was such a reminder of your wise words and in turn, I felt like I needed to put them down somewhere as a reminder to myself (and others) that it's okay to prioritize where you commit yourself - and sometimes it's a necessity!

      I hope all's well in you world - I miss seeing you xx

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  9. Hi Leanne, well this is certain a topic I can very much relate to! I think it's relative to all of us but even more so to people like me who are empaths. I'm hesitant to talk about being an empath because it all sounds very woo woo and I visualise people rolling their eyes. However, I have had it confirmed by a psychologist so it is valid. I take on the emotions of those around me. I feel things very deeply - my own things and other people's 'things'. So I get drained of energy very easily. Therefore I have to choose wisely how I spend my time and with whom. There are some people that can suck the energy out of me within minutes and others who actually give me energy! I think also that as we get older this becomes more important to us too. We no longer have the time or patience to waste on things that no longer serve us (which means they make us feel good or add value to our day in some way). I have withdrawn from a lot of things I used to do in order to please people or to be validated or liked and I have noticed that some people take that personally. That is sad but we have to look after ourselves and let go of the people pleasing culture we've grown up with. This is a topic I could write so much about! Hope you're having a great week! xo

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    1. Hi Min - I think it's a 'woman' thing to take on the emotions of those around us - and if you add on an high degree of empathy then I can totally understand how you would be drained or energized by the people you spend time with. I seemed to have more emotional energy when I was younger (or maybe I just worked harder to try to be liked?) but now I find myself easily tired or irritated by people who are takers or who don't invest back into the relationship. I think I'm more protective of my heart these days and when someone lets me down or doesn't reciprocate, I tend to pull back and not keep pouring into a dry hole.
      I'm finding the energy I save from not over-investing in certain people or situations can be used elsewhere and it feels good when the balance is right. I'd love to read your take on it all if you write about it down the line. x

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  10. Amen to everything in this post, Leanne. It is important to remember that our time, energy, focus, and resources are all finite. When we spread ourselves too thin, it not only hurts ourselves, but those people and things about which we really care are shortchanged. These words particularly jumped out at me: sometimes we have to take a deeper look and check in on whether we're pouring ourselves out so fast that we have very little left in reserve. Thank you for this important reminder.

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    1. Hi Christie - I've come to see that there are so many opportunities and/or responsibilities we're capable of taking on, but just because we 'can' do something, doesn't mean we 'should' do it. I'm becoming more intentional in how I spread my energy - especially while I'm not a physically mobile as I used to be. I don't want to be tired, irritable, and stressed because I took on too much, too often. x

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  11. Great food for thoughts! We should all consider what we spend our energy on, so many things are just meaningless. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Maria - yes I'm finally realizing that you can't do it all. You stretch yourself too thin and end up burnt out and feeling unappreciated. It just feels more balanced to choose wisely rather than spreading too thinly.

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  12. Yes, it's important to put ourselves first in a lot of ways - It's something for a long time women weren't taught to do. You can't pour from an empty cup. I also think, ironically, it is other women who judge women the most on this. Hopefully it will die out with our generation, and younger people will have a more equal playing field as the Dads are more engaged in the family in a hands on manner.

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    1. Hi Lydia - I definitely see my daughter and DIL having much less of a sense of obligation to keep everyone happy and everything on an even keel. They're much better at putting their own needs closer to the top of the list. I feel like our generation will be the last that feels this crushing need to please others at our own expense. Maybe we'll get to enjoy a little freedom from it in this later part of life?

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  13. Oh yes, I spent many years keeping everyone happy... (my desire to please people) and it did keep the peace, but it was absolutely exhausting. I'd like to think I am in a much better place these days. To use your words - "refining my focus" is my current work in progress. Excellent post!

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    1. People pleasing has been a huge part of my life too - if I do enough to keep everyone happy then they'll like me and not be mean to me! So ridiculous when I look at it now, but such a driving impulse for me during my younger days. I think it's a woman thing and also an oldest child thing - and it sucks us dry if we're not careful.

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  14. Grant and I have been talking about this quite a bit of late. I'm not sure whether it's that we're getting older and more aware of trying to maximise our time doing things for us or not. Definitely thought provoking.

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    1. Hi Jo - Erica's comment last year about choosing where to put her energy just really stuck with me. Maybe it's because I feel like I have less reserves these days, or that I just can't be bothered with difficult people or difficult situations. I spent far too much time and energy trying to fix everyone and everything - now I'm tending to back off and not put myself on the line as much - it's hard at times, but definitely healthier.

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  15. Great post Leanne. I think an amazing amount of peace enters our life when we figure out how to stop wasting our energy certain things.

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    1. Yes! peace and tranquility - both are becoming very high on my list of things to have in my life. I intend to replace stress and worry with those two qualities and enjoy the ride :)

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  16. Great post Leanne. I think that we find an amazing amount of peace when we stop wasting our energy.

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    1. You're so right about the peace (and the tranquility) that comes from stepping back a little and not spreading ourselves too thin. My stress levels are much lower these days from deciding to not over-invest in things that aren't my problem.

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  17. Leanne, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Our time and energy are finite and become more precious as we get older. Good for you to choose to use them wisely. Natalie

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    1. Thanks Natalie - I'm finding that my priorities are shifting as I get older, and being all things to all people is very low on my list these days. I'm more focused on how to live life well and how to make sure I have balance wherever possible.

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  18. Excellent post. I struggle with this periodically, usually when I've gone through a big change in my life and I'm recalibrating what works for me. This is one of those times. I'm realizing I don't have anywhere near the energy and focus I used to have, so I'm having to figure out where I most want to spend my time, energy, and attention. It's difficult, because a part of me doesn't want to admit I'm older and can't do everything I used to do, and a part of me suffers from a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out). But I'm getting there. Thanks for the reminder of why it's so important to figure this out.

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    1. Hi Janet - I often feel the same way. I look back at all the balls I juggled (and didn't seem to drop). I could do so much a couple of decades ago and it would take a lot more out of me now - in fact I don't think I could do it to be honest. So rather than fighting that, I'm just being more intentional about what I choose to invest in. I can't do it all, so I need to decide what resonates and put my focus there. I like your word "recalibrating".

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  19. Leanne, your post was rather timely and I've read a few things today about conserving your energy and having rest, focus. I am doing a course in Freelance Journalism with the Australian Writers' Centre and to write a 500 word profile of a fellow student, which required an interview. We were one short so I ended up doing two profiles and was working to get them in before deadline and I felt like I was swimming through a sea of words and starting to drown, even though it was very worthwhile. I have a 16 year old still at school and trying to breakthrough into the ballet world and it takes a lot out of all of us. We are still at the sacrifice stage in life, but we're almost out the other side, and I know we'll be missing them. Well, that's if they ever move out.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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    1. Oh Rowena I remember the days of juggling teenagers and all their needs and what had to be done to get them through high school and onto the next phase of life. It's such a fraught stage of life isn't it? Add in other commitments and it's pretty full on. I really appreciate this time we have now where our 'kids' have grown, flown, and flourished - and don't need us anymore (although I would like to see them a bit more often!)

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  20. This is a great post, Leanne. Even when we aren't pressured from the outside, it's still hard to make decisions about what is important and what is just easy to do - like a jigsaw puzzle - those are big time wasters for me.

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    1. I actually enjoy a bit of time wasting (jigsaws just seem to blur time don't they?) but I'm also trying to have a good mix of things in my week so feel like I've invested my time and energy thoughtfully (as well as in a fun way or in covering necessities).

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  21. That is so good Leanne and sometimes so hard to do. I have definitely been trying to put my time and energy into things that bring me joy, fulfillment, etc. Whether it's time with people, time doing hobbies or things I love, even taking time to work on a puzzle, because often as I'm looking for pieces I'm using that time to think or listen to a podcast. There have been people I've had to stop interacting with because they took up too much of my headspace in a negative way.

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    1. Okay...so weird that my comment showed up as anonymous...I think blogger is being obnoxious and maybe it's messing up my comments even if the blog I'm commenting on isn't anonymous...

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    2. Hi Kirstin - firstly everything you said in your comment resonated with me - I've been doing all the things you said - including listening to podcasts when I do jigsaws and letting energy draining people go from my life. It's so refreshing to put your energy into people and things that refresh your soul. And secondly, blogger is playing around with comments for some reason....you just need to use the little drop down arrow next to "comment as" or even just put your name at the end of your comment if it has defaulted to Anonymous.....hopefully things will sort themselves out soon. :)

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  22. Great post as always!! lately, I have had to deal with some criticism of how I am living my life...I promptly informed these people that I am doing exactly what I want, when I want and how I want and that i am not interested in doing the same things that they are or think I should be doing.... Thanks for sharing!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. I love your confidendent response Deb - and it's so true isn't it? We're not out there to prove anything to anyone, we're just living our best lives on our own terms - and loving every minute of it. :)

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