Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.
As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.
In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.
When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.
When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.
1. We function best when we feel positive
Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.
Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?
“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho
2. The human spirit
The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.
3. Sustaining your mental energy
Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.
Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.
4. Physical energy
We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.
When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.