Your energy will rise and fall throughout the day. You will have times when you feel like you can conquer the world and there will be periods when you feel completely drained and depleted. You may find yourself feeling low in a meeting or while you are working on a report. Or you may find that talking to people one on one gets you excited and energized to start your next task. This shifting energy pattern can be a problem if you are not sure how to respond to these variations and if they are having a negative impact on your ability to get your daily tasks completed.
For most people, the reasons why this happens can be tied to simple issues of self care, self management and better scheduling options. For example making different choices about what you eat or drink. Or making the choice to go to bed early and minimize distractions or disruption during your sleep time. Or choosing the right time to do each task so that your natural energy level is not a hindrance. Whatever strategy you choose, you want to make it your goal to get to a point where you can manage the ebb and flow of your energy so that you can enhance it when you need to, use it to your advantage and be more productive on a consistent basis.
Your energy levels can be impacted by your physical or your emotional state. Therefore as you identify the strategies that work best for you, you should consider the following steps.
Eat well. Sometimes your low energy comes from a lack of fuel for your body. It may take some trial and error for you to discover the right mix that works for you, however, you should invest the time in trying to get this right. Foods that supply long term energy are the better choice for the kind of work that most people have to do throughout the day, whether it involves working in an office or more strenuous physical activity. Sometimes, it might seem like a good idea to go for the quick energy boost, just to get you back to that high. Unfortunately, it is not. You need to remind yourself that the downside or crash that comes later, often leaves you in a more depleted state than when you started. So stay away from the quick energy boosters.
Get good sleep. More and more we are finding out that sleep is a vital component in a healthy life. There are so many people who are just going through their days tired and not fully recharged, just because they did not get enough hours of sleep or the sleep that they did get, was not restful enough. There is a lot of debate about the ideal number of hours. However, most people have a good sense of how much sleep they need. What is not debated however, is the need to ensure that the sleep we are able to get, is high quality and restorative, with enough time spent in deep sleep state. So, what we want to do to improve our energy, is focus on improving the quality of the sleep we get. Here are a few tactics I recommend:
- Prepare for bed. Dim lights and reduce the stimulation from florescent lights and computer screens. Don’t read your phone as you are preparing for bed. It keeps you wired and the light from the screen negatively impacts your brain’s ability to go into a restful state. Also, as much as possible, go to sleep at the same time each night.
- Make your bed a comfortable and restful place. Don’t sleep with your television on. Don’t sleep with a light on. Try not to do work in your bed. Reduce or eliminate potential disruptions to your periods of deep sleep.
- If you find yourself tossing and turning because you cannot turn off your brain, get up, sit in a straight-backed or uncomfortable chair, capture your thoughts on paper, then get up and go back to bed.
- Develop and practice a morning routine so that your waking up time and the period before you begin your day, can help you stay in a high energy state. Practice waking up at the same time each day.
Exercise. The chemicals that are released from our involvement in physical activity are shown to have a positive impact on our mood and this in turn gives us to energy to get things done. Additionally, this positive mood gets us into a mental place where we can be more creative, feel a greater sense of happiness and have a stronger self image.
Be proactive. You should know yourself well enough so that you can plan your most creative tasks for the times when your energy is up and the tasks that are more repetitive for lower energy times of the day. In addition, you should also have a plan for raising your energy when it drops. To do this, you will need to identify the periods throughout the day when your energy decreases. Also you should identify the triggers that leave you feeling depleted. As you design a plan for self management, choose the actions that you can take to re-energize yourself. If music works for you, get your playlists handy. If taking a break and a short walk helps, plan for that during your day and be ready with a way to do it when you need to.
Everyone needs to identify the strategies that work for them so that they can get and stay energized. Most people mistakenly believe that they need to worry about managing time but that is as effective as managing the wind. Instead, you need to focus on managing what is within your control, and that is you. So, work at getting yourself into a position where you are feeling good, emotionally and physically, so that you can do what you need to do, in the time that you have available to do it.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more of her writing visit https://marjoriewharton.live