To effectively manage your energy for high productivity, shift your emphasis to your own needs and investing more in yourself. So you stay motivated and able to perform at a higher level for your employer. You need to recognize energy-depleting behaviors. Then take active steps to change them or delete them completely.
Energy is very important when you’re aiming for high productivity. Look to successful people and ask how they became that way. Invariably, they will always say energy as one of their main drives to success. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main sources in you: your body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
1. Physical Energy for High Productivity
It is no news that improper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest affect your energy levels, emotion management and focus. Nonetheless, you may be guilty of ignoring ways to practice healthy behaviors, given all the other demands in your life.
You may be doing things such as skipping breakfast, failing to express appreciation to others, struggling to focus on one thing at a time, or spending too little time on activities that give them a sense of purpose. While it is not surprising that these behaviors are counterproductive, having them all listed in one place can become uncomfortable, sobering, and galvanizing. This may sound harsh, but is actually a necessary first step to restoring your body energy.
The next step is to identify rituals for building and renewing physical energy.
Example of Physical Energy Supporting Productivity
I read about a vice president at Wachovia who was significantly overweight. He ate poorly, lacked a regular exercise routine, worked long hours, and typically slept no more than five or six hours a night.
But, then he began exercising with cardio and strength training. Another practice he also started was to go to bed at a regular time and sleeps longer. Finally the VP changed his meals from two big ones a day to small meals every three hours. The aim was to stabilize glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys.
And the result?
The positive result was this vice president lost 50 pounds and his energy levels soared.
Another Physical Energy Practice Supporting High Productivity
Another way to maintain energy is taking brief, regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday. We have “Ultradian rhythms” which refers to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies swing through high and low energy states. At the end of each cycle, the body displays a need of recovery like restlessness, yawning, hunger, and being unfocused. Usually this gets ignored and in turn burns down your energy reservoir faster.
If done properly, intermittent breaks can increase and sustain performance. It is possible to recover well in a short time if it involves a ritual that allows you to separate briefly from work and let your mind rest. You can talk to a colleague about something other than work, listen to music, or walk up and down stairs.
2. Emotional Energy for High Productivity
When you can take more control of your emotions, you can significantly improve the quality of your energy. To do this, you must become aware of how you feel at various points of time and its effect on your effectiveness.
People tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy, and won’t perform well when they feel the opposite. Unfortunately, people tend to slip into negative emotions and trigger their fight-or-flight mechanism. Especially when they experience relentless demands and unexpected challenges. The signs may be irritability impatience, anxiety and insecurity. These are big culprits in draining your energy.
One ritual for erasing negative emotions is “buying time.” You can take deep abdominal breaths and exhale slowly for 10 seconds to relax and recover, and defuse your fight-or-flight response.
Expressing appreciation to others is a practice which is as beneficial to both the giver as well as the receiver. It can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, a call, or a conversation. The more detailed and specific the appreciation given, the higher the impact. To achieve higher success at doing this, like any other rituals, set aside some time to do it.
Emotional Energy Practices for High Productivity
Finally, you can change the stories you tell yourself about the events in your life. You may often observe the reverse. People cast themselves in the victim role rather than being thankful of what they have.
This is powerful because you are more aware of the difference between the facts and the way you interpret them. This may seem obvious but you can actually discover that you have a choice about how to view something and recognize how powerfully your story influences your emotions.
To change a perception to a story you want to tell, view it through any of three alternatives, represented by lenses. With the reverse lens, ask yourself what the others involved will say and are they actually true. Use the long lens, look at how it impacts you in the future. Viewing through the wide lens, ask yourself how can you improve and learn from this.
3. Mental Energy for High Productivity
Multitasking, while sounding and looking cool, actually undermines productivity. This is because a temporary shift in attention from one task to another increases the amount of time to finish a task by as much as 25%.You are likelier to be more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity. This focus and break cycle is called “Ultradian Sprints.”
Once you can see how much you struggle to concentrate, you can combat this by creating rituals to reduce the interruptions that bother you. Start out with an exercise that makes you face the impact of your daily distractions.
Example of Mental Energy for High Productivity
A real-life example is from another vice president at Wachovia, who designed 2 rituals to increase focus. The first one is to leave his desk and go into a conference room whenever he has a task that requires concentration to stop distractions from phone calls.
The result is he finishes reports in a third of the time. The second is by not picking up any phone calls in meetings with the people who report to him. This is because it stretched the time of the meetings and cost his full attention. He now only answers the voice-mail messages in his downtime.
Here’s another method: Instead of replying your emails as soon as they come in, set time to answer them at specific times of the day. This actually can allow you to clear your inbox faster if you fully focus on your emails for 45 minutes at a time.
Another way to mobilize mental energy is to focus systematically on activities that impact you the most in the long term. Identify the most important challenge for the next day and make it their very first priority when you arrive at work in the morning.
4. Take Advantage of Your Belief System Energy for High Productivity
Your vitality or inner force is at its highest when your work and activities are consistent with what you value and have a sense of meaning and purpose. If the work you’re doing really matters to you, you will have more energy, focus, and perseverance.
However, the demands and pace of business don’t leave much space for these issues, And many workers don’t even know that meaning and purpose are potential sources of energy. When you experience the value of the rituals you establish, you can start to see that being attentive to your own needs intensely influences their effectiveness and satisfaction at work.
Give yourself the opportunity to ask questions about what really mattered to you. You will find that these will be both illuminating and energizing. This can be highly important and thoughtful because it will really make you aware of what you want to be really remembered for.
To access the energy of the human spirit clarify priorities and establish rituals in three categories:
- Doing what you do best and enjoy most at work;
- Consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of your life, like work, family, health, service to others that you deem most important;
- And living your core values in your daily behaviors.
Wrap-Up Energy for High Productivity and Performance
Remember, managing your time is not nearly as critical as overseeing the ways you invest your energy for high productivity and personal renewal.
Further Reading for Energy for High Productivity: The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.