TREAT YOUR ENERGY LIKE MONEY!

As humans our brains do not have an unlimited amount of constant energy to make constant decisions and process information throughout the day. In the same manner, the body cannot absorb the demands of multitasking, connectivity and increasing workloads without a concurrent decrease in efficiency and well-being. In essence, your energy is very valuable, it’s like money. You should only invest your time and energy into things that provide a return. The return you are looking for is that “YOU” get something out of it, whether it is money, or more energy, or personal fulfillment. By managing your personal energy, you will be able to increase your performance and overall efficiency and still have ample energy to achieve your goals and live a satisfying and fulfilling life. 

The Author of the “The Power of Full Engagement” Tony Schwartzpointed out that the number of hours we have daily is fixed, but the quality and quantity of personal energy available to us is not. So for you to perform at your optimum, it’s important to manage your personal energy. To do this, you need to take a stock of your energy use and see where you’re losing out physically, mentally and emotionally. This will help you to expend less energy while attaining significant results and avoid activities that drain your energy and thereby eliminate or limit physical and mental exhaustion.

Understanding Energy levels

Energy levels fuel your body and propel it through time, but it’s usually inconsistent. Your energy levels increase and decrease during the course of the day in about 90-minute cycles called ultradian rhythms. Some of the factors influencing the amount of energy available for use include the following; 

  • The amount of sleep
  • Your daily food intake
  • How often we take breaks
  • Who or what activity you’re engaged in. 
  • What we are thinking about 

These inconsistent energy levels determine how much time it takes to complete an activity. It’s a fact that when your energy levels are high and you’re focused at the same time, you will likely perform a task more quickly and more efficiently compared to when your energy levels are low. So instead on focusing on time management, it’s more productive to organize your daily tasks by your energy level. The first step is to become more aware of when you’re more productive – this is the time when you have maximum energy to do your best work. This is why people who exercise in the morning – when they have the best energy and the most willpower – tend to keep their exercise routines going more consistently.

How to Allocate Your Energy (instead of allocating time)

Therefore, these periods of high energy should be allocated to tasks that are extremely important. Since you have an idea of your high-energy time, you can mold your schedule so that other less important activity will be shifted and this productive time will be dedicated to important tasks. Next, it’s equally important to understand the purpose of your work. This will give you clarity and compel you to take appropriate action. Furthermore, understanding your WHYwill motivate you, help replenish and sustain your energy sources. 

Try Monotasking

There’s a whole lot of research debunking the myth around the effectiveness of multitasking. Instead of multitasking you can MONOTASK. What this means is grouping together related tasks and working on them at the same time. An example would be writing business proposals, making phone calls, writing web content, or updating the website. Unlike multitasking, monotasking reduces the amount of time your brain requires to switch between different connections, increasing effectiveness. This is a strategy that I use when I have larger chunks of time to work on items uninterrupted. It works like a charm.

Ensure You Replenish Your Energy

Unlike time, energy levels are flexible and as such they can be influenced and renewed. Therefore it’s more productive to understand your daily energy cycles and then expand your capacity. Just like athletes, it is not realistic to sustain high level of productivity in the long term and as such it’s important to alternate periods of training and recovery. Take time to rest and recharge when your energy levels are low. Otherwise your energy level will continue to drop until it reaches rock bottom. To avoid burn out, take the time to recharge and refresh. Without rejuvenation your productivity level suffers. Learn to break your chores into manageable tasks, and then concentrate on a single task within specific times. Don’t forget to plan breaks on purpose. 

Quite frankly, people do things that are supposed to “relax” them like watching TV or Netflix for extended periods of time. There is no problem with this as long as you can answer the question, “Do I feel as though I am replenishing my energy or is this draining my energy?” I know for myself, I can watch a certain amount of TV and it can be extremely helpful in replenishing my energy; however, too much creates the opposite effect.

Understand Your Daily Energy Cycles

Unlike time, energy levels are flexible and as such they can be influenced and renewed. Therefore it’s more productive to understand your daily energy cycles and then expand your capacity. Just like athletes, it is not realistic to sustain high level of productivity in the long term and as such it’s important to alternate periods of training and recovery. Take time to rest and recharge when your energy levels are low. Otherwise your energy level will continue to drop until it reaches rock bottom. To avoid burn out, take the time to recharge and refresh. Without rejuvenation your productivity level suffers. Learn to break your chores into manageable tasks, and then concentrate on a single task within specific times. Don’t forget to plan breaks on purpose. 

Create A System That Works For You

Create a system that works for YOU and work around a routine that will help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. Having a structure in place brings order to how you work. And once you find a routine that works, be determined to follow through and be committed. Attention is often likened to a muscle, when utilized effectively it will work and grow well, but managed poorly and it can wither. Sustained attention produces consistent results and is often a driver of success.  It is popularly believed that “The successful man is the average man focused.” You can make the best use of the 80/20 rule. The rule suggests that 20% of the causes gives 80% of the effects. Basically spend your time on the top 20% tasks/things which give the most returns. Endeavour to pay careful attention to how you spend your time (personal energy) throughout the day and be ready to make changes once you realize you’re losing track of the most important things. 

Final Thoughts

True productivity is not determined by how much time you spend at your desk but by better energy management. It’s critical to acknowledge your body’s natural energy cycle rhythms and align your periods of work and rest with them to sustain productivity. It’s not about doing as much as possible daily, but what matters is simplifying how you work and doing things more efficiently, and knowing when to take a break and refresh.

Want to know more about Christopher

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

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