Time is a limited resource and staying longer and longer at the office has its limits. But personal energy is renewable, it comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
According to Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific habits– behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.
9 habits to manage your energy
1. Truly disengage for a short time from work each day.
Either by short renewal breaks every 90-120 minutes (e.g. a few minutes of chatting to a colleagues about something else, listening to music, walk up and down the stairs, etc.) or by a one 20 minutes walking break to stimulate the right hemisphere of your brain with its greater capacity to see the big picture and make imaginative leaps (walking puts dominant left hemisphere on a break)
2. Leave your office desk and work in a meeting room when a task requires concentration and switch of phone and e-mail during that time
3. Clearly separate e-mail checking from your other tasks by checking them only at two pre-defined timings each day (manage expectations with colleagues, ask them to call when it’s really urgent)
4. Identify the most important challenge each evening for the next day and make it a priority. This should be the first thing you do in the morning instead of checking e-mail
5. Define regular sleeping hours to get enough sleep – and don’t deviate from it!
6. Adapt your diet and eat regularly without skipping meals – consciously take this precious time for your health!
7. Defuse negative emotions or heavily stressful moments by deep abdominal breathing (stops fight-or-flight mode). Inhale several times deeply into abdomen and exhale slowly for 5-6 seconds
8. Create positive energy by expressing appreciation to others: Set up lunch appointments with team members or colleagues and use that time to recognize their accomplishments, speak about their lives and their aspirations
9. Learn to positively interpret the stories you tell yourself about the events in your life by seeing them through different lenses. Ask yourself:
a. What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?b. How will I most likely view this situation in six months?
c. Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
Releasing additional energy by a greater sense of alignment
Once you have experienced the value of these 9 rituals you can release additional energy by these 2 activities:
1. Ask yourself ʺWhat do I want to be remembered for?ʺ, and analyze what you would need to do differently in your daily work to get closer to this goal
2. Build on your strengths: Recall at least two work experiences of the past months during which you found yourself feeling effective, effortless, inspired, and fulfilled. Reflect to understand precisely what energized you so positively and what specific talents you were drawing on. Develop a strategy how you can do more activities you enjoy and delegate tasks you are maybe very good at, but which you don’t enjoy.
How is your overall energy?
To find out if you are headed for an energy crisis, fill out the questionnaire below (created by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy)
How is your overall energy? Total number of statements checked: ___
Your result according to number of statements checked
0–3: Excellent energy management skills
4–6: Reasonable energy management skills
7–10: Significant energy management deficits
11–16: A full-fledged energy management crisis