Blog post

Bandwidth Management

June 18, 2019

A year or so ago (thanks to my friend Kathryn Hofer’s teachings in The Quarterly) I starting tracking my energy in an effort to come up with a better daily/weekly schedule for myself. I think I even wrote about it briefly. Wait… *checks archives* FOUND IT.

When we think about scheduling, we often look at our days in terms of time blocks. We think time is the variable we’re trying to manipulate and optimize for, when in reality, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Scheduling or planning is really about managing your bandwidth. It’s about managing your time, money, and energy. How much or how little of those three things do you have to throw towards whatever’s going on in your life? How do those things affect each other?

Money can be used to “buy” yourself time and/or energy—hiring a house cleaner, ordering pre-made meals, hiring help in your business, etc.

Low energy (because of an illness or some emotionally draining Life Stuff you’re going through) means it will take you more time to get things done.

Certain activities will give you energy while others will drain it. Some will affect your mental energy while others will affect your physical energy.

Etcetc. You get the picture.

None of these variables exist in a vacuum, which is why it’s silly to play tetris with the time blocks in our calendars and then wonder why we couldn’t do everything. It doesn’t work like that.

If you want to create a life that honours you and where you want to go, it’s useful to get honest with yourself about the resources you have available to you in this season of your life. Pay attention to how these resources play off each other and how they change over time (because they will). Start making a list of the activities that drain your energy and the ones that contribute to it. Experiment with putting activities at different times in the day to see if you feel better one way or another. Maybe working out first thing in the morning gives you energy and makes it easier to focus at work (saving you time). Maybe writing does that for you.

Heck, I don’t know! That’s kind of the point. I don’t know what works for you, and no book will be able to give you a roadmap, either. You’ve got to figure this stuff out yourself.

So pay attention. Get curious. And through it all, remember to give yourself grace.


An illustration of mine to remind you that you are not a robot, a thing to be polished and optimized.

I listened to No Smoke by Bendigo Fletcher on repeat while writing this. Which! By-the-by, feels like the perfect song for an afternoon on the dock.

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