Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

In mental health by Tree House Recovery

There’s a lot to do when you’re recovering from addiction. There’s therapy, meetings, journaling, exercise, meditation, prayer, taking time to cook healthy meals, and many other things that may be included in your specific recovery plan. It’s also important to reduce stress, since feeling anxious or overwhelmed often trigger cravings and make sobriety more challenging. Learning to get more done with less stress is an important recovery skill and there’s no shortage of advice on how to do it. The problem with most productivity advice is that it’s complicated. Complicated systems might be helpful at first but people soon get tired of them and they don’t adapt well to unusual circumstances. In the long run, simpler is better. One simple way to increase your productivity while reducing stress is to manage your energy instead of your time. Here’s how to do it.

Identify your priorities.

The first thing to do is identify your top priorities. These should be the tasks that are most relevant to your values and goals. For example, if you’ve recently left treatment, your top priority might be to attend a 12-step meeting every day as a way to transition back to regular life and continue the progress you started in treatment. Another priority might be to exercise every day. It depends on what you’ve identified as the keys to helping you stay sober. Identify your top priorities for the day and either do those first or make a firm commitment to them in your schedule. 

Track your patterns.

Our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. Sometimes we have a lot of energy and focus and other times we can barely stay awake. Everyone is different, but most people are the most productive before lunch, have a lull after lunch, and maybe get a second wind later in the afternoon. Pay attention to your patterns and try to schedule your most important and challenging tasks during times you feel most alert and focused. 

Remember that rest is important

In addition to matching your priorities to the times of day when you’re at your best, also think about ways to increase your overall energy. Eating a healthy diet is one way to boost your energy. A diet rich in whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and lean protein will give you more energy, while avoiding fatty and sugary foods will help prevent sluggishness. Perhaps more important is to remember that rest is important. There’s a lot of research showing that mood and cognition suffer with even minor sleep deficits. You also need regular breaks throughout the day. If you’ve spent an hour or an hour and a half in intense concentration, give yourself 10 minutes or so to relax before going on to the next thing. As with exercise, you get stronger when you alternate periods of activity and rest.


Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474