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Build Reserves of Much More than Money

How Reserves of Time, Energy, Stress and Sleep Can Help You Succeed

How are you at building reserves? And we’re not just talking about money, although the concept is the same.  Do you have reserves of time, resources and energy?  Are you running your life, or is your life running you?

With Nantucket's high season waning, I've run into alot of business owners who feel like they've run out of gas. Their reserves are depleted.

We are all familiar with the concept of building financial reserves. Your family advisors tell you to put funds aside for emergencies; they give you advice on how much  you should put away (A half year’s salary? A full year’s expenses?)  They work with you to regularly put aside specific amounts for that unanticipated emergency. All this is great advice, and advice you should put into practice.

But there are other areas of you life where you can (and should) set up reserves.   By setting up other types of reserves you take a huge step in controlling your life, rather than having your life control you.  These reserves can be set up in three major places:
* Resources
* Time
* Energy

Resource Reserves:  Building reserves of your resources can save you money, time and stress.  Here are some examples:

* Buying in “bulk” or in advance:  by buying things you need in bulk or BEFORE you need them, you’ll have them on hand when you need them, rather than having to drop everything to go to the store and buy that laundry detergent for the load of wash you’ve already started..  You’ll also save money, which helps you continue to build reserves in that other important area: finances.
* Filling your gas tank at the quarter full mark.  By filling your gas tank, you can avoid last minute inconvenience by having to interrupt your important schedule to go to the gas station.
* Having backups.  By having backups, or alternate resources for the important and critical items in your life, you can once again avert crises or minimized that can take time and money away from other things.  The most obvious example here is computer and data backups.  But there are others—keeping copies of all your credit cards in the event your wallet is lost or stolen, training others in tasks that only one person knows, taking a video of all your home contents in the event of a catastrophe.

Time Reserves:  By “working ahead,” you can maintain focus on projects and avoid crisis management.  My mother always nagged us to “leave your time at the OTHER end!” 
Here are some examples:

* Getting your car inspected.  When you work your car inspection into other errands at the beginning of the month, rather than having to drop everything on the 31st, the task will ultimately take less time and less stress. (Note to self - my car inspection is due September 30. Do it now, Marsha!)
* Paying bills.  By paying your bills early, you can avoid mail delays, late fees, and late charges.  You’re going to have to pay them anyway, aren’t you? Why put stress into the transaction?
* Arriving early for meetings.  By planning to arrive for appointments 10 minutes early, you can avoid consequences of unforeseen delay, and thereby minimize your stress.  You can also use the time to prepare yourself and get focused on the meeting, rather than be frazzled and stressed.

Energy Reserves.  Yes, you can build reserves of energy, too.  But do you?  If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that they rest every chance they get, so they’re “ready to go” at all times.  You can apply the same concepts to your life.  Here are some examples:

* Getting enough sleep.  By planning for enough sleep, and getting it, you’ll add energy to your day.
* Exercising.  Building exercise into your daily routine will help you stay fit and add to your energy reserves. A brisk mid day walk can do wonders for a tired mind.
* Eating healthy foods.  Your body needs fuel to function.  When you put the right fuel into that machine, it puts out the right kind of energy.

So how do you build reserves?  The first step is for you to embrace the concept of reserving as a necessary one.  Just like your financial planner will challenge you to regularly save so you can build your financial reserves, you can achieve these other reserves by committing to the concept and practice.  So, the first step is to embrace the concept as a necessary one, then adopt the mindset that you WILL change your practices to build more reserves. And just as with building financial reserves, this takes planning and discipline.

By planning ahead, you’ll be able to seize opportunities to build reserve of resources, time and energy. 

I like to challenge my clients to “work their plans” rather than “plan their work.” 
Proactive planning allows you to group your tasks in the most efficient way, allowing you more overall time for the really important things in your life.  It can also minimize stress.

Enter: Discipline! And once you’ve committed to the challenge of increasing your life reserves, you’ll need the discipline to do it.  Just like adopting a money saving plan, you can adopt an exercise plan, a  task management plan, or a backup plan.  Sometimes it is as simple as moving the activities you do to the front of the list, rather than leaving them at the back. 

By moving from being reactive to proactive, you are setting up emotional, resource, and time reserves. 

Not difficult to do…  just a matter of planning and discipline.  We all want more time and less stress… So what’s stopping you?

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What ways have YOU built reserves that have enabled you to take better control of your life or business?

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Marsha Egan is a board certified professional coach. For more about her, visit MarshaEgan.com or come to one of her Nantucket coaching chats http://coachingatthecorner.com