The secret to getting things done efficiently isn’t time management.
Your performance, health, and happiness are grounded in how well you manage your energy – not your calendar!
Psychological research has shown that energy is our most important resource and is the distinguishing factor for high performance and our ability to focus.
No matter how strategic a time manager you are, without knowing how to use your energy, you still will feel drained, disconnected, and discouraged.
Join us this month as we use the science of Energy Management to increase your productivity and focus!
The Science of Energy Management
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel more energized and focused by the end of 2020?
By applying the science of Energy Management, you can enhance your physical energy, emotional connection, mental focus, and spiritual alignment to feel more fully engaged.
Energy management experts, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, define full engagement as having high positive energy so you feel:
With this in mind, here are some key energy management strategies to try!
Boost Your Physical Energy
Surprisingly, It’s not intensity that produces burnout, but the duration of energy expenditure without adequate recovery. Energy Management research has shown that working at a feverish pace without breaks can actually become physically addictive. Our bodies produce specific stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol that fuel arousal and create a seductive rush (we sometime call this an “adrenaline high”).
While this can help us power through a project and feel successful, if it becomes a pattern and we operate at a high enough intensity for long enough, we progressively lose the capacity to return to neutral. This short-term payoff turns into a long-term epidemic.
Instead, practice oscillation between energy expenditure and release so you benefit from this dynamic balance of managing your energy. Consider these core principles around your physical energy:
- Use It or Lose It: Too much recovery without sufficient stress leads to atrophy and weakness. If we take too frequent of breaks or stop training, we never push our capacity to be better, faster, and stronger.
- Over-Use It and Lose It: Too much energy expenditure without sufficient recovery eventually leads to burnout or breakdown. If you run a marathon like a spirit, you’ll burn out before you make it past the first mile.
- You are Hard-Wired to Pulse: You naturally oscillate between expending energy and intermittently renewing energy so you’re alert during the day and can sleep at night.
While your time is finite, your energy – the capacity to do work – can be expanded and regularly renewed. Imagine your stress threshold as a rubber band that has flexibility and capacity to stretch based on the situational demands. This elasticity serves you well as long as you don’t over-stretch and snap your rubber band. Similarly, being in a state of constant overload kills your ability to stretch to meet the demand because you’re already at full capacity.
Enhance Your Emotional Connection
Mira Kirshenbaum, clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute and author of The Emotional Energy Factor: The Secrets High-Energy People Use to Beat Emotional Fatigueshares that “just as physical energy comes from diet, exercise and rest, emotional energy comes from the ways you take care of yourself emotionally – living in a way that makes you feel inspired, hopeful, self-confident, playful, loving and in touch with what you care about most.”
A big part of living and leading with positive energy and full engagement means feeling emotionally connected to the relationships and activities in your life. Is there something you’ve wanted to try or someone you’ve wanted to meet? Consider what excites you now and choose to focus on it more. These types of meaningful connections to people and accomplishments will super-boost your self-confidence and pay huge dividends to your emotional energy.
Emotional Intelligence research shows that every emotion and action actually begins with the thoughts that you automatically think. When you are self-aware of your thoughts and self-manage how they manifest into feelings, words, and behaviors, you can reclaim your power and focus!
TRY THIS: Whenever a thought pops into your head, first ask yourself the following questions before jumping into actions based on emotion.
Test Truth: How true is this for me?
Analyze Authenticity: Which of my values does this honor or dishonor?
Examine Empowerment: What will this allow me to do?
Now based on your responses, either choose to accept this thought as valuable and productive or discard it as toxic and impractical. The hardest part of empowering your thoughts is to be able to look at them rationally before your emotions get in the mix. If you find this challenging, begin by naming your emotion and either inviting it to play along or giving it a “time out” if it’s getting in the way of analyzing your thoughts and moving forward.
Improve Your Mental Focus
So much of mental energy management comes down to learning how to focus on what’s most important to you, while blocking out the “noise” so you can accomplish your goals in an efficient and effective way.
In the early 1990s, Stephen Covey popularized the paradigm of “Important versus Urgent” that he adapted from the Eisenhower Matrix. This four-quadrant model helps us learn how to choose what to focus on based on how urgent and how important it is to us now.
Now it’s your turn to create your own matrix! What specific goals or tasks would fall into each of the four quadrants? Use the graphic below or print out this free PDF to get started.
Once we know where our most important priorities lie and actively guard against unhealthy emotions, we can regain a healthy focus that boosts our mental energy.
Your Energy Inquiry
When are you the most energized and alive?
What are you doing?
Where are you?
Who are you with?
What time of day is it?
How focused do you feel now?
A Personal Challenge
Over the next week, intentionally track your energy throughout each day so you can see the trends that contribute to feeling alive and feeling drained.
I suggest using a white board, blank document or note, or simply a piece of paper to record how you’re feeling at 9:00am, 12:00pm, 6:00pm, and 9:00pm each day.
Rank your level of energy from 1-10 and make notes on what you’re doing at each time and who’s around. You may be surprised at the patterns that emerge!
Notice how your energy impacts your focus and productivity. What are you learning about what you need most now?
Be the Revolution,