Managing Your Energy to Maximize Your Productivity – Part 1: Physical Energy

Show of hands, how many of you feel exhausted?  Feel guilty by not balancing work and life?  Wished you didn’t miss that spin class last week because you worked late?   Can’t remember the last time you slept a full eight hours?  If you said yes to any of these questions, you are not alone.   There appears to be this sense that we must continue to work longer and longer hours at work.  Some bosses may judge performance based purely on the number of hours you were at your desk in order to determine promotions and raises and rarely consider the actual work that you accomplished.  Others are in an industry with shrinking returns and a constant threat of job eliminations. 

What happens when you work longer and longer hours without replenishing your energy?  Engagement declines.  You are easily distracted.  Productivity decreases.  Companies see high turnover rates.  And medical costs, those increase.  Just think about the need for sleep aids, high blood pressure, and anxiety medicine.  Your personal relationships may suffer.  You might just look like an extra in The Walking Dead.  Well maybe a Walking Dead extra but with better style, but still the Walking Dead.  Even though we don’t know each other personally, I feel that it is safe to assume you want more from your life.  You want to enjoy your job, work hard at your job, feel healthy, and have strong personal connections outside of work. 

During this four-part series we will explore how to increase your energy physically, emotionally, mindfully, and spiritually so that you can be the most productive versions of yourself.  The Energy Project case study at Wachovia Bank in 2006 proved how invaluable sleep, healthy food, and strong relationships are to our overall well-being.  The case study focused on executives and high-level management in different industries.   While technology has changed over the past 14 years our need for sleep, healthy food, and strong relationships has not changed.

Based upon the case study by The Energy Project at Wachovia Bank, there are four sources of energy.  Our four sources of energy are the body, our emotions, our mind and our spirit.  The body represents our physical energy.  Spend a little time at your office coffee bar or water cooler and you will notice some patterns.  At least one person will comment that they didn’t get enough sleep last night, forgot breakfast this morning, feel overwhelmed by their to-do list, and cannot focus on one task at a time, or wish they had more time for *insert a fun personal hobby here*. 

I remember a few years ago, I slept less than 8 hours a night on a regular basis, I had no idea which state I was in at times because I traveled often, rarely worked out, gained a bit too much weight, and constantly felt hangry with eating less than desirable food choices.   Maybe you need to change jobs.  Maybe you just need to establish routines.  If you find yourself envious of someone with boundaries that support their physical energy, maybe it’s time to look inward. It took me a little bit of time to establish a routine that worked for me.  Your routine should include sleep, taking breaks throughout the day, eating well, and exercising. 

Are you still skeptical about the benefits of caring for yourself?  Unsure if all of this stuff really stands up to the hype?

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, sleeps 8 hours a week.  His net worth is $120.9B in 2020.  Bezos is quoted in the Business Insider as saying the following:

  • “I prioritize it,” Bezos said of sleep. “I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better.”
  • “As a senior executive, you get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions,” he said. “Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day. Is that really worth it if the quality of those decisions might be lower because you’re tired or grouchy?”
  • “If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of the Huffington Post, collapsed from sleep deprivation exhaustion and broke her cheekbone, wrote the Sleep Revolution after she personally realized the benefits of sleep.  Huffington is quoted as saying:

  • “We take now better care of our smartphones — we know exactly how much battery remains in our phones. If you had asked me the morning I collapsed, ‘Arianna, how are you?’ I would have said, ‘Fine.’ Because being perpetually tired has become the new normal.”

Do you want to hear why Bezos finally agreed to come out and talk about sleep? Arianna Huffington explains in her weekly Thrive Global Podcast.

If high net worth business leaders find value in getting sleep, why not prioritize sleep for yourself today?  Once you prioritize sleep, other healthy habits will appear.  You will become more productive.  Be able to make better decisions without being fatigued.  Respond rather than react.  Here is an overview of what I do to prioritize sleep and increase my physical energy.  I am one of those American’s who does not run on Dunkin’ yet start the morning with a smile. 

  • Before Work: Wake up at 5am, drink a full glass of water, practice yoga for 30 minutes, and make a homemade breakfast. 
  • During Work:  Have my phone send me three reminders each day to stand up and stretch.  I have lunch with some awesome co-workers and bring a health homemade lunch daily. 
  • After work: Meet with a personal training two days a week and run two additional days after work, no phone after 7pm, and go to bed at 9pm

If you are still not convinced, review these questions.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, consider establishing or adjusting your routine to support your physical energy. 

  • Do you sleep less than 8 hours and wake up tired?
  • Do you skip breakfast or eat something less than nutritious for breakfast?
  • Do you skip workouts (cardio 3 times a week and strength 1 time a week)?
  • Do you skip lunch, eat at your desk, and/or skip breaks throughout the day?

Check back next week when I discuss how to improve your emotional energy to be more productive.

3 thoughts on “Managing Your Energy to Maximize Your Productivity – Part 1: Physical Energy

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