First Published:  | Last Updated:

The gist: I talk a lot about going beyond working smarter to working brighter. But if you need some ideas for yourself, here are some self-care habits to start with.


3 Self-Care Habits to Work Brighter

So you worked smarter this year. Cool! Great! Congrats! 🎉

But you can do more. You can work brighter too.

In this episode of the Brighter Broadcast, we’re going to talk about how and the self-care habits that will make it easy.

Around here we’re obviously all about working brighter, and working brighter is just really about going beyond all the surface level productivity tips and thinking about the bigger picture. Going beyond life hacks and quick tips and taking a wider view of productivity.

One that includes as much rest, self-care, and fun as it does hustle and getting sh*t done.

It’s about managing your energy as well as your time, scheduling self-care, creating systems for self-care, and prioritizing rest as part of productivity.

And escaping that cycle of productivity followed by burnout.

You know, the one that always creeps in when you start putting your business before your own needs.

If you can’t remember the last time you said no to a business opportunity, the last time you had a hobby, or what hobbies even are anymore, this is for you. 🙌

So let’s get into three self-care habits that you can start to work brighter instead of just smarter.

Self-care habits to help you work brighter

1. Practice energy management

First, anyone who’s followed Work Brighter for a while can see this coming from like a mile away. One of the best things that you can do to have a brighter and easier year is to practice energy management.

I’ve been practicing energy management – more or less – for about five years. And it’s totally changed the way I’ve been able to work, how creative and productive I feel, and how much I’m able to get done in a day. It’s reduced the friction and stress and anxiety there is in my work and just so many amazing things.

And it’s all because I started to my energy and productivity, and how they relate to each other.

I have a whole other Brighter Broadcast episode all about energy management already, that you can watch if you want to learn more about actually how to get started:

Essentially most people currently plan their days around either time (like with a calendar) or tasks (with like a to-do list or a project management tool).

But those are all external. And they don’t take into account like your internal ish. Things like your energy, your health, your mental state, and all that. 😬

Energy management starts with your energy FIRST, then looks at that external stuff.

So you consider own energy levels, mood, health and other internal metrics before looking at the appointments, tasks and all that stuff on your plate.

That way, you can plan those tasks to be done during the time of day, or day of the week, that best matches you energetically. ⚡️

So, for example, it takes me a while in the mornings to like fully become alert. I’ve tried the “be a morning person thing,” and it’s not for me. No matter how much sleep I get, no matter what time I wake up. The first few hours of my day? They’re not going to be my best. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Work Brighter (@workbrighter) on

But like I said, I did try the whole “be a morning person” thing for a really long time. Especially back when I had a day job and thought I needed to live like a “regular” 9-5er. I would go into my day job and do things like batch my calls and meetings because it was what I thought I was “supposed to do.”

I even took that habit with me when I first started my own business, always batching my calls and having them first thing in the morning. But then I realized, “if I’m not going to be at my best in those hours, that should NOT be when I’m meeting with new clients.”

Duh! Why did it take me so long to realize?!

So now I plan my freelance work and Work Brighter tasks according to my energy and I ignore all of the advice that contradicts that, like eating the frog and stuff like that.

Instead I spend my mornings catching up on admin and making time for self-care routines, which I have another Brighter Broadcast about.

And it’s just so freaking life-changing to work at the times that makes sense and rest at the times that makes sense, instead of living by other people’s schedules.

It might sound confusing, but when you monitor your energy levels and your mood for awhile, you get to know yourself really well and can easily plan accordingly.

You really figure out what makes sense FOR YOU. That way you can optimize around that. You can just always plan better once you understand your energy.

That’s why I offer a free energy management tracker for all friends of Work Brighter and a full energy management challenge inside of the Work Brighter Clubhouse.

You can use the energy management tracker, along with a bunch of reflection exercises, and it helps you understand your energy. And Clubhouse members have done some REALLY amazing things with it.

Like, one member had always tried to exercise first thing in the morning because that’s what common advice said. But after studying her energy and mood throughout the day, she realized that working out as a mid-afternoon break from work is actually best for her.

Now she’s no longer spending her afternoon slump/funk trying to “push through” her to-do list. Instead she’s instead taking a break, pressing “reset” and getting her workout done for the day.

Another member of the Clubhouse is a writer and was always trying to do their creative writing first thing, because it’s the most important thing and “eat the frog” and all that. But then they realized that they felt more creative and happy writing at night.

And because it was so much more enjoyable then, it became easier too, and faster despite all the common advice thing that writing should happen in the morning. 🤯

2. Build a new (happy) habit

Okay, so once you do start managing your energy, you’ll feel like you have SO much more time in your day, since everything is getting done so much more easily.

What are you going to do with that free time?

Now let’s talk about habits. Happy Habits in particular.

Habits are how goals get reached, how creations get made. They are help businesses get grown. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how habits are like votes in favor of the person that you want to be. Or something like that.

And THAT reminds me a lot of the saying that’s like, “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” Plus, the saying “creature of habit.”

There’s honestly just so many quotes and idioms and things like that say that habits are gold. 🏆

But way too often, the habits we’re trying to build our things that we feel like we SHOULD be

Like, I used to feel like I should meditate or I should go running. Running because I live in NYC near a park, and running is an easy exercise to do. And meditating because everyone talks about it constantly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But I don’t actually LIKE running or meditating. I like dancing. 💃

Plus, dancing gives me the physical benefits of exercise and the mental and creative benefits of meditating. It fills both needs for me, so why was I trying to spend time building these other habits instead of just dancing more?!

So that’s why the work brighter lifestyle and the Work Brighter Clubhouse doesn’t just talk about habits. We talk about Happy habits.

Happy Habits are ones that both make you better, like meditating or jogging, AND make you happier. So that might be meditating or jogging for you, but it might also be dancing.

And just like with energy management, I created a super simple and super fun framework for building
Happy Habits that’s offered as a challenge in the Clubhouse. I’ve built you habit trackers, reward reminders, and other tools to make working brighter and building happy habits are really easy and super satisfying.

3. Start a journaling practice

The last thing that I want to talk about is like the happiest habit I could have *ever* started in my
own life: journaling.

It’s become a super popular happy habit in the Clubhouse. Since lot of us tried to start journaling during the Happy Habit Challenge, and it’s so important to me, that I felt like it’s worth its own conversation separate from other happy habits.

Consistent journaling has been one of the best things that I have done. To understand my mental health, to become more mindful, to hold myself accountable to my goals, and more.

Journaling is now my go-to way to process everything going on in my life. How I do it has changed depending on what that stuff has been. And I think that’s the point: journaling is flexible enough to be whatever you need it to be. To improve whatever you need to improve.

The book The Power of Habit talks about something called keystone habits, which is one habit you build that makes building all of your other habits easier. And for me, journaling is the best keystone habit I’ve ever tried.

When I’m journaling consistently, it becomes so much easier to exercise consistently, stay on task and focused, and generally just keep my sh*t together. All that is because of journaling daily, and how it makes me stop and reflect and have a moment of mindfulness. It forces me to check in on how I’m doing with everything else.

For me, what works best is a bullet journal style. I don’t do fancy like artistic ones like you might see on YouTube or Instagram. But my sister just writes regular lists and does mind maps when she journals. And for my friend Kayla, journaling is a free flowing prose and poetry.

Like I said, it’s just whatever you need it to be and it fits whatever you need it to fit. It’s a tool to use for
processing and reflecting when I need it and it’s there when I need it.

The brightest self-care habits are your own 🦄

Most importantly, build the self-care habits that work for you, not the habits you think you should be building.

If you want help doing so, we’re there for you (like F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) in the Work Brighter Clubhouse.

If you liked this post, you’ll love:

But before you go, pin this: