Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Personal energy management is the key to productivity

Much like running a marathon, achieving true success is a long term endeavor. And like any long term event, managing and maintaining a sustained energy level is key. 

A google search for personal energy management yields over 2.1 Billion sources. That Billions with a B, yet most people spend very little time, if any, managing their energy levels.

Energy management, and energy awareness, is the real key to productivity rather than the generally accepted view that proper time management results in productivity gains.

Almost any productivity book you pick up has a chapter or chapters with effective time management tips, methods and techniques. Whole books have been dedicated to the subject. And yes, while improvements to your scheduling, to your methods of prioritizing and organizing your day and workload will yield some improvement, it is the managing of your energy levels that will yield the best results.

Every person has a natural ebb and flow to their personal energy levels. You know if you are a morning person or a night owl for example.

But the subject of energy management is much more involved than simply knowing if you are a morning person or night owl. Energy management is exactly that – Managing your energy throughout your day. You need to understand what events help boost your energy and which events drain your energy. Plus, you need to look at your overall lifestyle habits to determine how you might be able to improve your overall energy level.

Events that boost your energy are those that you love to do. What parts of your work day do you look forward to tackling? Perhaps you love getting ready for and meeting with your team. Perhaps you love walking through the distribution center and saying hello to your front line employees. Maybe it’s sales meetings with prospective clients. You need to think about, and possibly even monitor/make notes on your schedule for a week or two to determine which tasks really get you pumped and energized. Once you have identified your energizing tasks try to incorporate more of those activities into your day.

Events that drain your energy are those that you do not enjoy and that do not match up with your natural gifts and abilities. Filling out expense reports or other paperwork might drive you crazy. Conducting pricing comparisons or other research into your competition might drain your batteries. Once you can identify what tasks are draining your batteries you need to see if you can delegate any of those tasks to someone else (you may be delegating a task that energizes the other person’s batteries), or find ways to streamline (save time) each of your energy draining events.

Your lifestyle greatly influences your energy levels as well. Smoking, over eating, excessive drinking, lack of exercise or lack of sleep (to name a few), all reduce your basic energy level as well as reducing your ability to focus and manage your emotional state. Improvements to any one of these factors will yield improvement in energy and performance both in the workplace and at home.

You need to design and incorporate rituals into your daily routine that build and renew energy.

Set a regular time for going to bed and stop looking at screens about 30 minutes prior to prepare your body to sleep for example. Using a mediation app to relax and fall asleep might help as well.

Eat several smaller meals and healthy snacks throughout the day instead of one or two larger meals to help level out your metabolism and help maintain adequate energy all day long. This also helps to maintain a stabilized level of glucose which helps in weight loss and energy gain.

A daily exercise ritual helps build strength, improves cardiovascular health, weight loss and boosts energy. You may prefer exercise in the morning before heading to work, you might like a mid-day workout, or you might find after work to be best for you. The key is to establish a routine and stick with it. You will not see results day one, or day ten for that matter. But if you stick with it, over time you will see results you will like.

We are all working longer and oftentimes more pressure filled hours. You cannot operate at your best without adequate energy reserves and without having rituals built in to help restore the energy you are burning off throughout your work day.

Time management is great. But the key to sustained productivity is energy management. That little shift in mindset, and then your follow through, can dramatically improve your overall performance and satisfaction both at work and with your home life.

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