Awwwards

Practical Tips on How to Manage Your Energy Across the Entire Day

by Ciprian Paraschiv on 16th March, 2016

Management

Being on schedule, estimates, release dates, appointments … yes, we are busy people. There is so much to accomplish both at work and in our private lives.  It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. No matter how proficient you get in managing time, time is finite.
What if there is a better way to estimate our efforts and to accomplish more? Instead of focusing on time management and always trying to adapt when things don’t match your estimates, manage your energy. A sustained and balanced effort throughout the entire day will not only help you getting more things done, but it will also fuel your inner peace by knowing you did your best.

Managing energy is not only about coffee and chocolate. The body matters but also your emotions and your mental state. We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in the same way that we build physical strength.

Developing rituals for building and renewing physical energy

Chaotic sleep and nutrition habits coupled with a lack of exercise diminish the energy. Drinking water is perhaps the most undervalued reservoir of physical energy renewal.

Sleep is important because it is the mechanism our brain uses to drain the neurotoxins accumulated in its daily activity.

A growing body of evidence suggest that our brain works better when we do some exercise or simply have a walk. When we exercise, the blood pressure increases in our entire body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.

The hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise. When the neurons in this structure revitalize, research shows that our cognitive function improves.

If going to the gym is not something you would do regularly, I recommend Convict Conditioning , a bodyweight training you can perform in the intimacy of your own room. You start with exercises everybody can perform and does not take more than 10-15 minutes a day.

“It’s not that we work too hard, it’s that we don’t recover enough”

In their book “The Power of Full Engagement”, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz offer great insights on why we should emphasize on managing energy, not time. Their work is grounded in the research and consulting they’ve done with the world’s greatest athletes. They found there the energy renewal in the short breaks was most important to flare up talent and skills.

Because energy diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.

Take brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday. The value of such breaks is grounded in how our body works.

“Ultradian rhythms” refer to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies slowly move from a high-energy state to a lower one. Near the end of each cycle, the body begins to need a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty in concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working.

The consequence is that our energy reservoir, burns down as the hours pass. Intermittent breaks for renewal, has been found, result in higher and more sustainable performance.

Have 15 minutes walk in the afternoon.

Balancing your emotions and mental state

When you can take more control of your emotions, you can improve the quality of your energy.

You should become more aware of how you feel at various points during the workday and of the influence these emotions have on your effectiveness. Find ways that help you get your energy back, and then integrate them throughout the day.

Avoid situations that makes you irritated and impatient, anxious or insecure.

Often, people in conflict manifest a tendency to turn themselves into victims, blaming any other thing but themselves. You can cultivate positive energy by learning to change the stories you tell yourself about the events in your lives.

Another trick that works in my case is known as “Eat the frogs first”, the frogs being the things you don’t really enjoy doing, but you have to do them. These are the kind of tasks that makes you a victim to procrastination. By dealing with them at the beginning of the day, you will free up your mind and will enable a higher productivity when working on the things you enjoy more.

Ciprian Paraschiv

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