In summer 2017 I had a six-months break from work. It was wonderful months fulfilled with a lot of beach volleyball, learning new things, traveling, doing important things and everything I love. I started work in October and I had to deal with boosting my performance. I had watched a lot of speaks at conferences about productivity and I knew a lot of techniques, but when I had to deal with it was a little bit more complicated, especially when I had lost my habit to work from 9 to 5.
I realized that a lot of articles, videos and materials about productivity emphasize on tips and tricks like, eisenhower method, pomodoro technique, avoiding multitasking, avoiding context changing, how to deal with distractions, how to get in the zone and so on.
All of them are meaningful and if you follow them you will increase your productivity. Despite that I want to focus on something else. Something beyond productivity. All of these tips above look like they are made for robots. But we are human. Right? Getting in the zone is the tip I like most. It’s wonderful to be in there. You manage to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. Also there is a lot of satisfaction after being in the zone. There are also trick how to get in the zone. For example you can use anchoring technique like listening same music when you are in there. Actually, I realized that I have to be fully charged to get more frequently in the zone. But, what does it mean to be fully charged?
The main topic of this article is energy. Let’s get in to it. Everything we do needs some energy. Do you know that the average human spend energy like 80W light bulb illuminating all day. For different tasks we spend different energy. For example, for a difficult task of only a few seconds’ duration, we can put out thousands of watts. For an activity that must be sustained for an hour, output drops to around 300; for an activity kept up all day, 150 watts is about the maximum. Which means that we have some capacity of energy per day. This is not something bad, it’s just our nature.
What we can do? There are several things:
- We can increase our energy capacity.
- We can learn how to recharge our energy.
- We can learn how to manage our energy throughout the day.
When we talk about energy, there are different types of energies. We have mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy.
Sooo, one by one.
How to increase your capacity of the energies?
Energy is like a muscle. When you want your muscle to grow you have to train it. Push your muscle to the limit, then let it rest and repeat this regularly.
You can do memory exercises, learn new skills for increasing mental energy capacity and meditate and sleep for rest.
Train your body to increase your physical energy capacity. It is not necessary to go to gym and lift weights. I am not a fan of fitness, but I play volleyball a lot. This is how I keep up my physical condition.
Emotional energy is connected with your happiness levels. Meet new people, go out with friends, laugh regularly, have fun, do things you love. When you do something you love you recharge your emotional energy.
Spiritual energy is something deep, inside us. Find or create your meaning of life. Think about your deepest values. What is important to you. Where are you going. Why do you want all of these things?
Manage and Recharge
Observe yourself consciously and when you feel physically or mentally tired, emotionally exhausted or lose the meaning of life, you should recharge. Sometimes you can do it more often, sometimes it’s not needed. You can do physical activity daily. Find some sport you love. When you joy the activity, you will recharge both physically and emotionally.
You can observe how you feel throughout the day. When you feel tired after trying to solve a problem, take a break. Great ideas never come at work. They are born most often in the shower, in the nature, when we relax, meditate or listen music. We are most productive when we are fresh with clean mind. Take breaks not at specific times, but when you feel tired.
All energies are connected and affect each other. Physical energy is fundamental source of fuel and affects ability to manage emotions. Your brain works better when you are physically charged. The spiritual energy is most powerful and don’t waste it.
The interesting fact is that positive thinking charges you with energy, while negative thinking exhausts your energy. Habits barely expend energy like tooth brushing, while new or difficult tasks spend most energy. The trick here is to make important tasks our habits, like training, reading, hustling and so on. This will save our energy and we can use it for the difficult tasks.
What I try to do to keep up my energy high?
- Physical energy
- I try to breath slow and deep.
- I try to eat healthy food with enough proteins, complex carbs, fats and vitamins. I try to eat when I am hungry. Actually, I need some food in about 2-3 hours.
- I drink between 1-2 litres water per day, but I need more.
- I sleep between 7 and 8 hours and try to go to bed as early as I fell asleep.
- I train volleyball 2-3 times a week. I make power exercises at home or gym. I run for agility.
- Mental energy
- I am not exercising a lot here here, but my work mainly contains of mental effort.
- I regularly learn new things in software engineering field.
- I could do mental, memory and concentration exercises.
- I could learn new language. Actually I started learning Spanish, but I stopped.
- Emotional energy
- I go out with friends.
- I go to events and conferences where I meet acquaintances and new people.
- I was going to an acting course.
- Spiritual energy
- I know what I want. I know what makes me feel good.
- I know what person I what to become and I work for it.
The main thing to get from this article
Don’t try to use some boring techniques, just observe yourself and manage your energy. When you feel tired recharge. You will feel better, it will help you in your work and everybody around you will see the difference when you are full of energy, positivism and enthusiasm.