As I become clearer on what I want my life to be, I also grow to realise that the most important currencies are time and energy.
It has been said that money lost can be earned back but time lost is lost. I would say the same for the energy we require to accomplish things. Energy spent can be regained but not in the same body, because our body is worn and torn by time, and the energy I could afford to expend when I was fresh out of college I could no longer produce now. (There is also the matter of the heart not being into the same things it used to and the absence of heart's support can really take a toll on energy availability and consumption.)
Energy is also more than physical. There is the energy consumed by mental processes (I am always hungrier after more than three hours of intense thinking work, like when I'm doing data analysis or writing a report) and the energy spent by emotions. These cannot be discounted and all -- physical, mental, emotional -- are valid for recovery time.
Most of my young adult life was spent at work, in both time and energy. But the work I did served everyone else's agenda but my own. Thus when I realised the necessity of taking care of my own agenda, the skills and resources I gained needed fine-tuning to help me.
I have always written about reclaiming my time and I frequently complain about recovering my energy. For quite a while now I have been stuck in a vicious loop of losing time and energy and then struggling so hard to somehow win them back (which of course is an illusion for they are lost).
On the matter of time, the solution really is to take a stand on what I agree to spend my time on, and how much energy the thing will take. Anything that needs doing that is a detour from where I really want to go (with my life overall) will consume more energy regardless of the amount of time required (remember that heart takes away energy when it is absent). So essentially I have to make that arrangement as efficient as possible.
Efficiency is a result of deliberate planning including an investment at the beginning to set up processes. This also includes defining ahead the boundaries of my involvement and engagement. (The heart can be persuaded to lend its own energy if the deal is deemed fair and the task tolerable.)
Work, particularly the kind that brings the income but not necessarily the deep inner joy, requires the best efficiency I could muster. I have to find the balance of energy consumption, quality output, maximum number of hours per day depending on task type and the required energy for the task type, task difficulty, and whether I even want to do the task in the first place. I believe that I have earned enough life points to spend on not doing what I really would rather not do.
I have made major lifestyle shifts in exchange for more time and for what I had hoped was more energy to pour into what I really want my life to become. But it has not been easy, and continues to level up in toughness as I go along.
Currently I am in a state of compromise. But even compromises have to be efficient, or else it's not a compromise but a defeat. A compromise is still supposed to leave me with enough resources to do my thing, and not trade it all off for others to use to do their thing.
I used to think that as long as I get a lot of money for my time and effort I'm fine. This is no longer the case. I need the money but I also need other things that are equally, if not more, important. And it's hard to negotiate for intangibles.
So I wish myself luck today as I attempt another go at hitting that Golden Mean of perfectly balanced time/energy spend amidst compromise and crossroads deals.