The strength and vitality that develops our capacity for doing work is called energy. Energy is a needed resource for enhancing our performance and efficacy. Energy is essential to our wellbeing.
We invest much of it into our work and lifestyle each day. Although we generally talk about managing our time, the competing demands we face today require managing our energy to properly use the time we have.
Considering the polls that demonstrate the effect of balancing the competing demands on the workforce, 21% of employees reported feeling burned out very often while 76% of employees experience burnout at least sometimes, according to Gallup.
Gallup concludes that it’s not just the number of hours you work; it’s how you’re managed and how you experience work during those hours. So the question is do we need more time or more energy?
First, let’s understand from where our energy is derived. Energy is a basic human need. We need energy for our mind, body, emotions and spirit. How well we fuel our bodies with nutrition, exercise, rest and sleep covers our physical energy.
As we learn how to counter distractions such as multitasking and develop intentional focus, we are positioned to sharpen mental energy. Then by developing psychological flexibility, we enhance the quality of our emotional energy and subsequent performance.
Spiritual energy is cultivated through a sense of meaning and purpose, and at best when our activities and actions align with our core values or what matters most.
Clearly we can see no one energy source is sufficient on its own if we want to function at our best. These sources are interrelated and have a great influence and dependency one another.
Managing Energy, Not Time.
Because employee burnout can trigger a downward spiral of performances of both employee and the organization while influencing an individual’s family life, let’s explore a counterpoint perspective to managing time and learn the simplicity of managing energy instead.
Here’s what everybody ought to know about energy management.
- Track your energy levels. Create a log and track your energy levels throughout an entire day. Note what you are doing at hourly intervals from 7 am until 10 pm using the following scale for measuring your energy levels: 1-2: very low; 3-4: low; 5-6: neutral; 7-8: high; 9-10: very high.
- Evaluate your energy level patterns. At what times was your energy high? At what times was your energy low? What patterns can you observe about the activities associated with high energy? What patterns can you observe about the activities linked to low energy?
- Replenish your energy resources. Energy can be managed physically by building endurance and fitness; mentally by cultivating focus and attention; emotionally by cultivating excitement and connection; and spiritually by cultivating presence. Observing what you are doing when your energy is high during your day can help you to come up with possible energy-boosting actions when at your lowest.
Understand that human energy is like a battery. Because it depletes over time, it needs to be recharged regularly. Awareness is key to wellbeing and is also key to managing your changing energy levels throughout the day. This enables you to become healthier, maintain vigor, vitality and perform effectively in your personal and professional life.