Rules of Work 6: Manage your energy
Jonathan is a highly respected banker at the age of 37, married with 4 young children. He was working 12 to 14 hours a day, felt perpetually exhausted, and found it difficult to fully engage with his family in the evenings, which left him feeling guilty and dissatisfied. He slept poorly, made no time to exercise, and seldom ate healthy meals, instead grabbing a bite to eat on the run or while working at his desk.
Sounds familiar? Well, this is one common struggle for working adults these days...with greater demand for better work performance, thus leading to higher workload. At times, putting in longer hours seem to be the only solution. But inevitably, the longer hours put in for work will lead to a lot of other problems: physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs among employees.
|Energy management, not just time management|
The core problem with working longer hours is that it is finite. Energy is a different story. Energy, defined in physics as the capacity to work, comes from 4 main wellsprings in every individual....the body, emotions, mind and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed. To recharge themselves, it is important for individual to understand activities that deplete the energy and start taking responsibility on them.
It means looking after your physical energy. Set an earlier bedtime and ditch the drinking habit (one of the main cause that disrupt a good sleep at night) especially if there is work the next day. As a consequence, one will wake up earlier and feel motivated to exercise. Regular exercise helps one to keep fit and healthy. There is time for breakfast with your friends and family. (the most important meal of the day maybe?). Long hours can still be put into work but time is made for a proper lunch with colleagues, partners and friends. One should take a walk in the afternoon to relax as well...as it gives you the time to renew your energy. When evening comes, there will be time to connect with your friends and family instead of feeling exhausted and empty.
Establishing simple rituals and habits could help one to go a long way in working place.
Emotional energy must also be handled carefully as well. If you are feeling moody or down before work because of family or some personal issues, try to listen to some motivational songs along the way to work. Remember, leave your personal troubles at home. Nobody want to work with someone who frown all the time. If you are emotionally affected at work, maybe you will have to think of constructive way to keep your energy level up, such as going for a run during lunch hour, or talk to the person who bug you about the issue...if there is a need, talk to your boss about your worries. It helps to let it out.
Finally, let's not ignore the spiritual side of your energy. Some people feel that it happens outside work, while others need to keep doing their jobs that give them a strong sense of moral worth. Well, every individual is different...you will know best about yourself but at the end of the day, make sure that your job is not cramping your spiritual energy or else everything will be affected.
IT IS YOUR JOB TO MAKE SURE THAT ENERGY IS THERE WHEN NEEDED