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A guide to managing your energy

8 September 2023 at 9:00 am
Michelle Varcoe
Relationship and people-focused roles like fundraising, recruitment and consulting, are highly rewarding, but can demand you to be “on” constantly. How do you balance this, especially as an introvert who needs to step back to re-coup energy?

Michelle Varcoe | 8 September 2023 at 9:00 am


A guide to managing your energy
8 September 2023 at 9:00 am

I sway between being introverted and extroverted. Although I don’t do it perfectly, I am mindful of managing mine and my team’s energy to be productive, successful, healthy, and balanced.


Diary management is key to ensuring balance throughout the day. It is not sustainable to have back-to-back meetings with no time for thinking, lunch or more importantly, coffee!

Using scheduling tools like Calendly, which syncs to your calendar, saves the time of back-and-forth calls to book in appointments. However, to make this work, you need to ensure all the settings are right and that your calendar is frequently updated.


  • Set up all the standard meeting types you do, both in person and via Zoom

  • Adjust the settings in Calendly to include your ideal time windows for each type. For example, I have meeting types such as 15 minutes for an exploratory phone call, right through to 1-hour meetings (ideally 50 mins with 10 mins leeway), so when people select times, you can avoid your diary being entirely full for every single minute

  • Include a buffer, perhaps 15 minutes before and/or after meetings for you to take notes, breathe, decompress, and prepare for the next

  • Set more availability for Zooms on WFH days, and spend more time with people in real life when in the office, including clients, candidates, and importantly, colleagues

  • Cluster meetings together so you have chunks of time for deep thinking, planning, and of course productive meetings.


Mini breaks could be as little as 2 minutes, or your full lunch break. Here are some ideas:

  1. Desk stretches

  2. Quick power nap or meditation

  3. EAT – something healthy of course, and ideally, not at your desk

  4. Daydream

  5. Read an article or listen to a podcast

  6. Nature Pill, forest bathing (sit under a tree or walk in a park)

  7. Draw, be creative or brain-storm

  8. Take a brisk walk, run or do some other exercise. Or switch an office meeting to be a walking meeting.

Plus the need for longer breaks to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.


Coincidentally, the abbreviation for Managing Energy is ME! There are some weeks where everything clashes and there is a sprint to the finish line. No matter how much planning is done, sometimes it is not possible to add space, and you need to sprint to the finish. It could be a 3-day conference, the lead into 30 June, or competing project deadlines. The nature of work is not always 9 – 5. Extra workloads, conferences, training, travel, projects, and of course, personal life too, can tip the balance. Still, planning ahead can be helpful to recharge and retain your sanity when you know you have planned time out especially scheduled to bounce-back and refresh, be it a few hours, a day, a week or longer.

When I see these “busy” weeks coming up in my diary, I look ahead and lock in some time to recalibrate – a day, half day or a few hours – to spend doing something relaxing or fun to recharge. Usually for me it’s a remedial massage with Hiroko, a walk with Leroy, my beloved Groodle or for a longer recharge, a hike or holiday, which importantly includes time away from screens.


Holidays for me are usually sunshine and beach. But with a snow-loving family, we just spent winter in the cold instead, recently heading to Queenstown, NZ. This was the opposite of relaxing by a pool in the sun with a cocktail, but so rejuvenating – skiing (falling), jet-boating (OMG, stressful but fun), Segway (balance and sight-seeing). Changing scenery to snowy mountains with extraordinary, and I returned feeling refreshed, recharged and reenergised. “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you. — Anne Lamott

I hope that these insights and tips about managing energy are helpful. Whether you’re balancing it all or having a week of sprinting or feel like nothing going to plan, you can still find success. The key is to find what works for YOU!


This article was originally published at

Michelle Varcoe  |  @ProBonoNews

Michelle is Gembridge's director, with over 20 years' experience in executive search, recruitment and HR.


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