Most of us experience our lives as hurried, rapid fire, and relentless. We rush through without pausing to consider who we really want to be or where we really want to go.
We are trying to do the best we can yet when demands exceed our capacity, we begin to make choices that get us through the day and night but, they are taking a large toll on us over time. We are surviving on too little sleep, eating fast junk food, drinking coffee to ramp us up during the day, and alcohol to cool us down at night.
We have relentless demands at work causing us to become short-tempered and easily distracted. We return home feeling exhausted with no energy left for those who are most important in our lives.
We need to learn to better manage the limited about of energy we have. Our job performance, our health, and happiness are all grounded in the management of our daily energy.
Energy management is the ability to understand how our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual attributes affect our ability to be productivity. These traits fuel the limited well of energy we tap into each day so we can be engaged in our work.
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
Each source has its own ways of being replenished and depleted; it is the foundation of understanding energy management. In our culture of working and numbing through the pain, we sometimes cannot hear (nor are we listening for) the subtle whispers our body is telling us – that its time for a break. When we don’t listen, the whisper becomes a scream and our bodies knock us on our ass making us sick so that we are forced to rest.
Status check – let’s do an energy inventory assessment: when taking the quiz below put a check next to any statement that even partially applies. The more honest you are the better understanding you’ll have. Remember no one will see your results but you!
____ I don’t regularly get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired.
____ I frequently skip breakfast, or I settle for something that isn’t nutritious.
____ I don’t work out enough (meaning cardiovascular training at least three times a week and strength training at least once a week).
____ I don’t take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch at my desk, if I eat it at all.
____ I frequently find myself feeling irritable, impatient, or anxious at work, especially when work is demanding.
____ I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not always really with them.
____ I have too little time for the activities that I most deeply enjoy.
____ I don’t stop frequently enough to express my appreciation to others or to savor my accomplishments and blessings.
____ I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day, especially by email.
____ I spend much of my day reacting to immediate crises and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value and high leverage.
____ I don’t take enough time for reflection, strategizing, and creative thinking.
____ I work in the evenings or on weekends, and I almost never take an email–free vacation.
____ I don’t spend enough time at work doing what I do best and enjoy most.
____ There are significant gaps between what I say is most important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.
____ My decisions at work are more often influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of my own purpose.
____ I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world.
How is your overall energy?
Total number of statements checked: ______
Guide to scores:
0–3: Excellent energy management skills
4–6: Reasonable energy management skills
7–10: Significant energy management deficits
11–16: A full-fledged energy management crisis
What do you need to work on?
Number of checks in each category:
Guide to category scores
0: Excellent energy management skills
1: Strong energy management skills
2: Significant deficits
3: Poor energy management skills
4: A full-fledged energy crisis
Now that you’ve taken the quiz, the first thing I want to say is IT’S OKAY!
On average most people put a check mark next to eight to ten of these statements. But here’s the bonus of doing this inventory: having the list in front of us helps us to clearly identify those behaviors that are counterproductive to managing our energy. When we can increase our awareness on how improving our sleep, diet, exercise, mindfulness, and spirt, we will begin to understand as well as how to influence our daily energy level.
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” – Aristotle