The general opinion has been that managing time is the key to productivity and success. But what if I tell you that energy management, instead of time management, is essential for high performance ? In this short article I’ll teach you 3 tips on how to manage your energy for high performance.
We all work within the same time limits – 24 hours each day is all there is. We can’t get any more time than this, but we can utilize our time better! Let’s investigate how we can use some simple techniques to increase our vital energy and work performance.
The power of full engagement
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz make a bold statement in their book The Power of Full Engagement: “Energy, not time is the fundamental currency of high performance.” I believe this to be true. Burnout caught me twice in my life. The first one was mild, the second one bad. One major thing was that my time-management strategies were making me rather ill than successful. Only when I learned to manage better my energy was I able to bounce back AND become a high performer.
Loehr and Schwartz further state that we should “treat our lives as a series of sprints rather than a marathon” – an interesting analogy with much wisdom in it. Aren’t we all guilty of skipping the necessary recovery time after a week or two of working intensively on a project only to jump right into the next one? Unfortunately, over time this drains our batteries, which leaves us with a consistent feeling of depletion.
As leaders, we can’t afford to run on empty! We are the stewards of organizational energy. We have to learn how to manage our energy first effectively first. Only then are we able to mobilize, focus, invest, channel, renew, and expand the power of our employees.
If all this hits home for you, but you are still worried that you don’t have the time to rest and recover, let me introduce you to the following tips. I will show you how to improve your energy without compromising your daily schedule. These tips have been a real lifesaver for me and will be for you too if you consider yourself a stressed-out leader.
3 energy management tips to increase performance
1. Schedule a daily nap
Napping is a scientifically proven way to effectively recharge your energy, as well as raise your cognitive abilities, such as concentration and memory. Be aware, however, that your napping time won’t exceed 20 minutes, or you will feel more tired and exhausted than before the nap.
How to integrate napping into your day?
If you work from home, this should be easy. If you work in an office, consider finding a quiet place such as your car, or you could put up a sign at your office door saying “20-minute relaxation. Don’t disturb.” Who knows – you may set the trend at your office once people begin to notice how much your energy levels have increased!
2. Become aware of your thinking patterns
What frequently drains us the most in our lives is putting too much pressure on ourselves.
- Consistently comparing ourselves with others
- Perceiving work and life as a competition
- Thoughts and feelings of not being good enough
- Setting higher standards on ourselves than others
- Being a perfectionist
All these thought patterns deplete us big time!
How can you become aware of your thinking patterns?
Get yourself a journal. Observe your thoughts for a day or two and write them all down. Then analyze them and look for the patterns. I guarantee you that many of the ideas you noticed, do come up repeatedly! Two things are important:
a) Self-awareness is the first step to improve anything in our lives
b) Mindfulness – a non-judgemental observation of the present moment- is what helps us to accept ourselves as who we are, and to escape the perfectionism trap.
3. Meditate daily
I know, you may have heard this a thousand times already, but if you still think you don’t have the time to meditate, I urge you to reconsider it! Only a few minutes daily can have a tremendous impact on your health, well-being, and productivity. Numerous scientific studies are proving how a daily meditation practice can help us become more resilient and productive in work and life.
How to meditate?
Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for 5-10 minutes. You can either sit on a chair or a cushion. Most importantly, your spine needs to be straight. Set a timer. Close your eyes and notice your breath. The breath is your focus point. As you inhale, notice the cold air coming into your nostrils, and as you exhale, notice the warm air leaving your nostrils. Every time you catch yourself having been carried away by a stream of thoughts, without judging yourself, bring your attention back to your breath. That’s it – a beginner’s meditation practice. And the more you practice, the easier it will get.
Here you go! Managing your energy does not have to be a difficult task. Once you start applying the strategies to manage your energy for higher performance, you’ll probably notice how different work days transform into smooth and gentle sailing. Having the right rituals in place and the willingness to observe and change your thought processes, emotions, and behaviors, will help you to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life. Start today!
If you’d like to learn more about how to increase self-awareness, manage your energy, and increase your productivity, check out our innovative equine-assisted leadership workshops.
Corina is a change agent, equine-assisted master coach, mindfulness practitioner and culture strategist. She is the co-owner of Brainpower360, an all-encompassing leadership and team development, and recruiting company. For over 30 years, they have provided their clients with workforce solutions and executive leadership training, ranging in such industries as manufacturing, IT, engineering, automotive, and more. Brainpower360 not only provides services to connect the right staff with the right organization, but also works to develop corporate cultures, inspire teams, and help people maintain and reclaim good health through resilience training and mindfulness interventions.