What is Resource Management?
Resource Management is the idea that we need to effectively and proactively manage our lives so that we maintain the necessary energy/emotional resources to contribute to our relationships and deal with the problems and setbacks that are part of life. In its simplest definition, it is having however many resources are necessary to meet the demands of your life.
I like to use an analogy that I call “the reservoir” to explain how resource management plays out in our lives. Each one of us has a reservoir of energy that we function on, and as we go throughout the day, we have things that drain us. Some are big and some are little—from as little as the shirt that I want to wear isn’t clean all the way to really big drains like a car accident or a death.
Draining the reservoir is a normal part of every-day life, which means that it’s important for us to manage the process of being drained and replenished as we go throughout the day. We can patch the holes, or decrease some of the drains that are going on (many drains or problems are solvable). If I have anger problems, for example, I can develop anger management skills to manage that. If I am under-employed, I can obtain a better education and get a better job. If I have self-esteem issues, I can do things to address that. There are lots of drains that we can do something about to decrease what we are losing, but there are some drains that are impossible to get rid of (unsolvable problems), like chronic illnesses, death, and world events.
- Since patching the drains is not sufficient to keep our reservoirs full, our other option is to fill it back up. We do that through what I call “Fillers” (creative, huh!?). Fillers are anything that leaves you better off for having done it, and a filler gives you more resources/energy than it takes out of you to engage in that filler.
Examples of Good Fillers:
- Service–exercise and service are the two best fillers!
- Hobbies (reading, sewing, sports, music, etc.)
- A nap
- ANYTHING that leaves you better off for having done it!
We have to be careful though, because there are also pseudo fillers, and we have to be careful about these. Pseudo fillers are things that generate emotion, that stimulate or titillate, but don’t leave us better off.
Examples of Pseudo Fillers:
- Ice cream/junk food
- Too much of a good filler, like alone time or watching sports.
Basically, fillers need to give more than they take. Low-effort fillers usually have pretty low payoff, like watching TV. Better fillers, like exercise, require much more effort, but give you MUCH more energy!
In My Life
I carefully plan my days and weeks with fillers in mind. My job requires lots of emotional resources and consumes my fillers rapidly. While the specifics vary from day to day, I exercise every day, I eat lots of fruits and veggies, and I try to get healthy amounts of sleep. Additionally, I am almost always listening to or reading a good book and I pray and read scriptures daily to fill up and connect spiritually daily . I try to leave situations better off because I was there. Each night, I do something with my wife and/or kids to do some kind of relationship filler. I also carefully manage my exposure to things like the news and media that tend to drain me. As a result, I sometimes feel a bit uninformed, but “you can’t give what you don’t have,” and I have to be judicious with my reservoir in order to be healthy and happy! Even with as hard as I try every day, I still end up “suckn’ mud” by the end of most days . . .
Resource Management in 2020
I think we can all agree that this has been a turbulent and stressful year! Here are some tips for resource management in the midst of a pandemic and civil rights movement:
- Know when to turn the news off! It is important to be informed, but don’t continuously consume news if it depresses you/stresses you out. Take some time to unplug.
- Plan fillers every day! I suggested this tip to my daughter and son-in-law. Every Sunday, they plan a filler they can do together for each day of the week, even if it’s just grabbing take-out or taking a walk together! This has helped them enjoy what they can do, even with COVID, strengthen their relationship, and have something to look forward to every day!
- Don’t focus on things you can’t do anything about. Some things, like a pandemic, are out of our control. Focus on and do the things you can do, like wearing a mask and social distancing, and once you’ve done what you can, think about something else! Focusing your energy and emotional resources on something you can’t change or control is a needless drain.