THE SIX LETTER WORD THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
It will probably come as no surprise to you that the six-letter word I am referring to is indeed energy.
Energy is one of those words that’s taken on a new level of meaning this year, don’t you think? It’s my most favourite way to analyse a business because it has shown me just how much impact it can have on individuals and teams. As a society we are becoming more conscious and comfortable talking about things like wellbeing, burnout and energy levels – which is a good thing. We are also right in the middle of the grand season of winter ailments, and undoubtedly we have all had our fair share.
Energy is precious. It’s not everlasting, but it’s renewable. And it’s paramount.
Our energy level is like the tide, as it ebbs and flows throughout the workday, so do we. When we are in flow and our energy level is high, we find that it is easy to achieve our goals and be productive, but when our energy ebbs we struggle against the current to gain any sort of traction with our goals and productivity. Does that ring true for you?
Are you and your employees taking advantage of high energy times to get things done? Are you working at effective productivity levels, and allowing the inevitable down time to be a source of energy renewal?
Blasting forward through the ebb can quickly cause productivity levels to decline. And even if you are one of the lucky ones, feeling vibrant and energetic for long stretches, keeping up that high energy pace all day is a mistake. You will lose your ability to understand what is important and what isn’t and ultimately go into overwhelm and burnout.
At the other end, when you’re working below your ideal energy level, you start to avoid challenges. As a result, you will experience brain fog, boredom, feeling tired all the time, having difficulty concentrating, and – because logic is a cruel master – energy levels drop even more.
Here’s what to do about it.
- Monitor your own, unique, energy level. Are you an early riser? Work in the morning. Night owl? Schedule those big-thinking tasks after the family is in bed. As much as you can, unravel the expectation of energy levels matching a 9-5 work schedule.
- If you need help figuring this part out, keep a diary and note every hour how you are feeling and what you are doing. How is your energy, what have you eaten, when did you last have a drink of water, when did you take a break? At the end of the week analyse your notes and look for patterns.
- Once you know your energy rhythm try and get into the habit of working to your energy. When your energy is highest, do your most important, difficult tasks, when your energy is low do the tasks that you don’t have to think about.
- When you know your energy is going to lull, change it up. Stop. Go for a walk. Read for a bit. Shut your eyes. Recharge the energy level.
- Lead by example. If you want the most productivity out of your employees, work with them to design their most efficient day, right after you’ve told them about yours.
It is important to remember that working at your maximum does not mean you are working at optimum productivity. Don’t aim to work without stopping or without interruptions. Learn to balance intense productivity with slower little brain power required activities or take a break. Because at the end of the day, energy feeds performance, and performance feeds you!
Do you manage your energy instead of time. I would love to hear how this has changed your energy levels, your productivity, and your health and wellbeing.