By Jennifer Drean, Deliberate Directions Success Strategist
Do you want to consistently excel at your work and life?
If so, you have to manage your energy, not just your time. Managing your time will give you more opportunities to produce great work. Managing your energy will give you more happiness, focus, attention, and speed to leverage that time to the fullest.
- Physical energy is determined by how well we take care of our physical bodies.
- Spiritual energy is focused on our purpose and the meaning of life.
- Emotional energy is related to how we feel.
- Mental energy is driven by intellectual growth and development.
All of these aspects are important and all must be renewed on an ongoing basis.
In this article you’ll learn 16 ways that you can renew your personal energy so you can achieve optimum performance every day. We’re also providing a free Personal Energy Management Playbook that you can use to get started tracking, optimizing, and managing your energy.
1. Take Breaks
When you take breaks, you have time to rest and recharge.
You need to build in space on your schedule to respond to life. A good rule of thumb is to double the break time you think you’ll need.
Zapier breaks down 5 methods to realistically schedule breaks. Try a few methods until you find one that works for you.
2. Listen to Music
Listening to music can increase production of the neurochemicals dopamine and oxytocin, which make us happy, motivated, and alert.
Music also has been shown to increase memory, attention and brain health while also promoting neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to rewire itself to learn new things and adapt to new situations.
On average we take 20,000 breaths a day without ever thinking about it.
When we are upset or stressed, our breathing becomes irregular and shallow. This leads to a buildup of toxins that are released on exhale. It also results in less oxygen for vital organs including the brain.
When we concentrate, our breathing is slow, regular and deep. This allows us to control our emotions, sharpen our focus, and take better care of our physical health.
Humans on average are “in the moment” for less than half of our waking hours. The rest of the time we’re often thinking about something else, often unproductively and often unhappily.
There are mangy great reasons to try meditation.
- Meditation and mindfulness decrease the time our minds spend wandering and ruminating. By taking away this negativity and stress, meditation increases our abilities to focus and solve problems.
- Meditation has been shown to improve attention long after meditation training.
- Meditation increases compassion by dampening the activity of the amygdala in the presence of suffering so we are more inclined to help others out of their suffering.
You can find plenty of guided meditations on your favorite app store or on YouTube.
Brain scans show that prayer improves focus and attention. In fact, researchers identifies changes to the brain structure in as little as two weeks when subjects regularly practice prayer or meditation.
Regular physical activity boosts your physicality in a number of ways. It enhances endurance, builds muscle strength, spurs oxygen and nutrient delivery, raises endorphin levels, and promotes higher quality sleep. All of this means more energy and happiness.
Aim to move at least five days a week for 30 minuets each day. The trick is to find a physical activity that you actually enjoy so that you’ll stick with it!
A fun way to start is with Elena Rover’s fitness personality quiz. It offers activity recommendations based on your answers.
Nerd Fitness also has a list of 40 simple ways to incorporate fitness into your daily life.
If you’ve ever struggled with regular exercise, here are a few tips that will help you to establish a routine you enjoy.
- Try new classes or get a fitness buddy.
- Pick an activity and put it on your calendar just like any other important appointment.
- If you’re exercising alone, find a podcast you like or listen to audiobooks.
- Be patient. Results will take time. Enjoy the process and remember that ever day you’re moving, you’re improving your quality of life.
8. Eat Well and Hydrate
To provide a steady stream of energy, eat small meals and snacks every few hours. Choose high quality foods like unrefined carbs, proteins, and healthy fats.
Remember to use caffeine sparingly and strategically to increase your alertness and mental clarity. Drinking a lot of coffee after 2pm can cause sleep problems at night or a crash after the caffeine wears off.
Finally, don’t forget to drink lots of water! A shortage of fluids can make you feel low on energy too.
9. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude increases positive feelings and happiness levels, helps you build strong, meaningful relationships, and improves your ability to deal with adversity.
People who practice gratitude with a journal show increased happiness and optimism. higher capacity for forgiveness and spirituality, lower stress and anxiety, and fewer headaches. After just two weeks of keeping a gratitude journal, the positive effects can last for up to six months!
Journaling is easy to do once you get started. Just keep the chain going day after day and pretty soon you won’t want to let yourself down by missing a day. If you’d like to get started, Shutterfly has a great guide on how to start a gratitude journal that you’ll actually stick with.
10. Perform Random Acts of Kindness
Much like gratitude, random acts of kindness are linked to happiness and contentment both psychologically and spiritually.
Kindness increases empathy and compassion, which makes us feel more connected to those around us. This leads to less loneliness and depression. Not surprisingly, kindness is also linked with reduced stress and pain and improved immune systems.
A person’s happiness can even increase by counting the number of kind acts they’ve done in the past, or watching someone else show kindness. Still, the positive benefits are highest when you show kindness yourself.
As a final benefit, you can help create virtual circle! Because random acts of kindness make us and those around us feel better, anyone you’ve been kind to is more likely to be kind to others in return.
11. Single Task or Batch Tasks
Multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.
Single tasking, on the other hand, allows us to direct our full attention to the task at hand and consume less energy while doing it. When you aren’t trying to remember multiple things at one, your short term memory improves along with you ability to focus, practice self control, and commit to the task at hand. When you’re no longer experiencing “monkey brain,” you’re more capable of tuning into our own thoughts and being present. (This applies whether you’re at work or at home with friends and family.)
A great way to take single tasking to the next level is to practice batching. This is when you block time for specific repetitive tasks. Repeating a task multiple times in a row allows our brain to create neural pathways for the task, making each repetition even easier and and more efficient. It’s an excellent way to maximize your productivity.
12. Pace Yourself
According to Parkinson’s law, reducing the amount of time you have to work on a task will lead you to complete the task in the smaller time frame.
To follow the natural highs and lows of your body’s Ultradian rhythms, perform a task in 90 minute sprints followed by 20 minute breaks for rest and recovery. When you push yourself past 90 minutes, you deplete your energy exponentially until your creativity and productivity hit rock bottom.
13. Choose the Right Time of Day
After reflecting on who you are and when you perform best, schedule your most important task for the times of days when you tend to have your highest energy levels.
In general, intellectually demanding activities are best for mornings and simple motor activities are best for afternoons. If you don’t think you’re a morning person, Inc. Magazine offers some great tips to get more done in the mornings.
14. Work in Your Unique Ability
Do work that stimulates you and that you enjoy.
If a task isn’t stimulating or enjoyable, then delegate it, eliminate it, or change your perception of it.
15. Read for Pleasure
There’s nothing quite like relaxing and reading for hours, especially if you have a good cup of coffee to sip or a pet relaxing next to you.
Most high achievers believe they need to continuously be productive, so they opt for non-fiction. However, it’s important to give yourself real downtime so that you can give your mind time to relax and recharge. Many professionals have found that a good approach is to read one non-fiction book followed by one fiction book and keep cycling back and forth.
16. Be Authentic
It is exhausting to be anything or anyone other than yourself!
Fill Out Your Personal Energy Management Playbook
Recharging your personal energy will give you more happiness and productivity in work and life. There is no right or wrong way to recharge your energy. Hopefully this list has given you plenty of ideas and direction to get started.
If you’re ready to make real changes to improve your happiness and productivity, complete the complimentary Personal Energy Management Playbook. It will help you establish your current energy levels, identify how you renew your energy, assess how your energy fluctuates, and guide to schedule time for renewal into your calendar.
Will you use any of our suggested approaches to renew your energy this week? Do you have another approach that works well for you?
Please share in the comments!
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Jennifer is passionate about helping people grow their businesses. She can assist with:
- leadership development
- career advancement
- systems design
Jennifer continues to successfully run her own family medical practice, Gem State Family Eyecare, which she founded in 2011.