Research shows as leaders move up in an organization, the demands become greater. Busy leaders have to do more with less time. Many people feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and unfocused; often feeling like they are lacking purpose in their work. In their personal lives, they might find it difficult to fully engage with their families in the evenings and feel guilty and dissatisfied as a result. Their response to rising demands is to work harder and put in longer hours, but this can take a big toll on them emotionally, physically, and mentally. In the workplace, this level of disengagement can lead to higher turnover rates, lower morale, and higher medical costs to organizations. What can you do about this? Turn to energy management.
Move from surviving to thriving with energy management
You can become more conscious and intentional about managing your energy, and shift from time management to energy management. Hours are fixed: Energy is not. Regularly renewing your most precious resource, energy, can become the X-factor in fully accessing your best and highest potential.
The key to managing energy is to approach challenges with new and healthy energy recovery rituals. There is power in creating healthy habits. Think of this way:
Good habits are hard to create, but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to create, but hard to live with.
Energy management is based on living your values. In the book, “The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal”, Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr reveal how the key to excelling is matching your energy to your task. They further discuss the importance of taking inventory of the four areas of energy management: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual states of mind. Are you currently being challenged in one of the four areas of energy management? Follow my tips below to find out.
Mental energy management
When your mental focus is being challenged, you may find yourself losing focus and unable to finish projects on time; you might feel disorganized, generally pessimistic, or lacking creativity. Mental energy builders include taking the time to be present, improving your concentration or focus, remaining realistically optimistic, and/or finding more time to be creative and curious.
We all want to have more “eureka” moments, and they happen when we least expect it. You can’t set a meeting reminder to have a “eureka” moment, but you can take time to free your brain from too much clutter so you can be innovative and creative. Sometimes it happens when you take a long hot shower or when you hike, run, play the piano, or write a song.
Physical energy management
Physical energy warning signs are when you are running on empty, fatigued, over or under-weight, or prone to sickness. An important physical energy builder involves taking the time to exercise at least three times per week. Just 30 minutes a day will make a huge difference. Get started by accessing personal trainer videos on Youtube or BeachBodyonDemand.
I like to go to the gym and take a fitness or yoga class with a friend; it makes me show up. I also travel for work and have 7 years-old twins so sometimes it is more convenient to exercise with a fitness video at home or in my hotel room. It’s equally important to schedule annual doctor visits and stay in tune with your bodies. You want to detect any early warning signs if something doesn’t feel right health wise. Healthy eating is vital to managing energy. For me, it became such a priority after I was diagnosed with breast cancer – the “C” word definitely is a wake-up call to eating healthier and being consistent with taking vitamins.
Emotional energy management
Emotional energy management warning signs include feelings of anxiousness, rigidness, impulsiveness, judgment, defensiveness. In moments like these, you need to be self-aware and have better self-regulation; it’s important to be open to other’s opinions, feedback, and thoughts. Try to communicate and build relationships with others in person and not just through cell phones.
Technology is created to make our lives, both professional and personal, easier. However, many of the social media platforms today play on your emotional self-esteem. You can easily become addicted to many of these platforms, and they drain your time and energy. You may find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others or wanting feedback on something you posted. By doing this, you can forget to connect with the person next to you in a real conversation. Make it a priority to have a human connection or bond; it can increase your energy.
Spiritual energy management
Spiritual energy increases when you are aligned with your highest values. The warning signs that your spiritual energy is being depleted is when you lack authenticity, avoid conflict, feel disadvantaged, or gain a sense of giving up.
To increase your spiritual energy, it is important to balance self-care with giving to others. You need to be honest with yourself and what your bigger purpose is. Do you have faith and courage to believe in something bigger than yourself? It doesn’t matter what your religious background or faith is, what matters is if you are living in alignment with your beliefs.
I encourage you to take some time to look at these four areas of energy management and reflect on two things you are willing to commit to working on within the next 60 days to improve your energy?
The new paradigm shift is to manage energy, not time. Move from avoiding stress to approaching stress and make room for downtime. Create new healthy habits and rituals to effectively manage your energy. I have seen it make a difference in my own life and several leaders I have coached, and I know it can work for you too.
Are you looking for ways to build more positive energy in the workplace? Start with everyday appreciation. Learn more by downloading Achievers’ e-book, “The Power of Employee Appreciation.”