Resiliency in Efficiency

“Resilience” has been the buzz word for 2021, at least in my world. I spent the year learning about and working through my own understanding about resilience. As I dove deeper into the discussion, my ears would perk up anytime I heard even a faint whisper of the topic. This past fall I discovered some nuggets of pure gold around timing saving. For me, becoming more efficient turned into resiliency into a daily practice.

It all started when I was listening to the amazing Bianca Olthoff’s podcast on my way home from a work trip to Maine. If you haven’t heard of Bianca Orloff yet, she is a powerhouse. She is fierce in her love for God, family and people. In her podcast “We’re Going There” she was interviewing a leadership guru, Carey Nieuwhof. Nieuwhof was talking about his own path out of burn-out.  My attention was grabbed. I leaned in to their conversation. I even took notes. Nieuwhof explained the energy zones he structures his day around. He was helping Olthoff process her own work day and productivity based on his three zones, green, yellow and red.

I grabbed his book and began to process my own energy levels. Nieuwhof’s book, At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor is an easy book to digest. His theories are easy to understand, no mountain to climb during implementation. I enjoyed it so much I signed up for his master class. Need I say more? I recommend this content because this method of structuring a day took Nieuwhof from burn-out to exceptional sustainability. I wanted to see if it works for me.

I am busy, constantly. I work two or three days a week at my nursing career. I lead the school board at my girls’ charter school, and I own and operate my photography business. I have the drive to do everything, but snuggle against the desire to be the best mommy and wife above all those things. I wake up early in the morning ready to take on the world, yet I have a massive slump in my day around 3-5 p.m. where no matter what I do, the world seems to be ending. It’s the time when I most need to be “on” because everything happens from 3-5 p.m. every day. I pick my girls up from school and golden hour doesn’t happen any other time.

Based on Nieuwhof’s zones, we have a three to five hour period of creative/high productive time per day which he categorizes as the green zone. We have yellow zones which can occur throughout the day. These are the times we can get things done, but we are not as productive. Our red zones are the times when, for me, the world is ending and I reach for more coffee! The morning, turns out, is my creative/productive time of the day, but I was not optimizing my productive time during the day. I thought I needed to do the things I hated to do first so I could get them done. His methods, once applied to my day, changed my life almost immediately. 

I don’t usually sell things, but as an advocate for resiliency, I wanted you to know about it as we start 2022. I have spent several years working on my habits and dreams. I have spent my days off from nursing attempting to cultivate my photography business, yet would spend hours at night making up for my ineffectiveness during the day. If self-care is resiliency, prioritizing and having the energy needed for the day goes way beyond self-care.

This has been a bounce back year for my photography business after Covid. While my goals were hijacked like so many other’s dreams, I began to see new clients emerging in hopes I could capture their families together. Instead of running around feeling as if my head might fall off by everything I had to do, I began to give my best with every session.

I began to apply the zones to my life and I am leaving my busiest season ever with energy. In previous years I would end feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I am making plans for the future instead of being overcome by the holidays and longing for self-care. Sure, self-care isn’t something to dismiss. We all need self-care, daily, but instead of it being the exception, we can take the time to practice it throughout our day or week.

Check out Bianca Olthoff’s “We’re Going There” podcast wherever you listen.

Find Carey Nieuwhof at, At Your Best anywhere books are sold, or his leadership podcast “The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast” wherever you listen.

Happy New Year! I am looking forward to exploring excellence this coming year, inspired by Horst Schulze and his book Excellence Wins. I hope to explore the question: Can we be excellent in everything we care about while still experiencing resiliency? I can’t wait!

Published by Stephanie Trowbridge

Follower of Jesus. Artist. Wife. Mother.

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