You’re at the top of your game. You act with authority and get results. You have an outstanding track record of resolving issues, and a long list of clients who are thankful to you.
Yet, instead of enjoying your success, you feel drained, exhausted and completely lacking energy by the end of the day. Your sleep is disrupted, you are irritable, and the passion you used to have for life and work is just not there anymore.
What’s going on?
Your work environment, as stimulating as it may be, is not for the fainthearted. You often have to negotiate with unreasonable people, meet aggressive deadlines, manage an unpredictable workload, and deal with mounting pressure to perform.
You do an excellent job, but your well-being suffers.
How do you manage your energy to survive and thrive in the environment where the demands continue growing?
If you want to learn to manage your energy, first and foremost, you must have energy to manage.
Assess your current energy level. Does your inner battery feel full or empty? Do you feel like you have a reasonable amount of energy to take on the day’s challenges? Are you running on empty, with an internal commentary of “I can’t do this anymore!”, still doing it in the meantime?
If you’re running on empty, you’re not in an energy management mode – you’re in a crisis management mode.
How far would you expect your car to go on an empty tank, with a red warning light blinking? If you’re lucky, maybe, you can get a couple of miles out of it, just to get to the nearest gas station.
How far do you expect to go if you are running on empty? Miles and miles!
This doesn’t add up, does it?
When your battery is empty, ask yourself: strategically, what is the last thing or two you absolutely must do before you take the mandatory time to refill your battery?
Do this last thing or two with as much empathy for yourself as possible, and for everyone’s sake, stop to refill your battery. You must.
Here are some things you can do to replenish your energy:
1. Sleep. I know this is not simple because you JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME to sleep more, right? If you did, – you would have done this already, right? Well… If you want to feel sharper, to have better judgement, to be a more creative problem-solver, to feel balanced and less reactive – make time to sleep at the expense of anything.
2. Get fresh air. Fresh air = sanity. Can you turn any of your meetings, phone or in person, into “walking outside” meetings? You’re not tied to the phone cord anymore when you take phone meetings. For in-person meetings, you’d be surprised how many people would welcome an opportunity to get out of their offices as well. Frame it as a leadership move for fitness and wellness. Alternatively, end a meeting 10 minutes early, or block out a few minutes between meetings, just to go outside for a bit. You’re not being frivolous, you’re replenishing your energy, which you must have to do your job well.
3. Drop one thing. If you absolutely had to drop one thing that is taking your time, what would it be? Let go of it. Cross it off your list. Delegate it, forget it, postpone it, but – drop it. (Here’s my story of letting go when the option seemed impossible, as my son stayed at the hospital.) Drop one thing to make time to replenish your energy instead.
4. Eat at least one good meal a day. Can you commit to just one? Your body is like a bank account: you can only take out what you put in. You expect a lot of yourself. So, can you make it a point to put good stuff into your body at least once a day?
5. Get close and intimate. Face to face contact can make us healthier and happier. When you need to recharge your battery, “healthier and happier” sounds like the way to go. Make time for people you love, for people who give you energy, who make you laugh, who make you feel loved. You’ll feel like you have more energy to deal with whatever challenges life brings.
6. Sleep more. (Yes, again.) Your brain does amazing things while you’re sleeping. You need sleep to feel recharged, there is simply no way around it.
Imagine walking into a difficult situation when your energy level is at zero. You’re tired, hungry, snappy, irritated, your attention span is nil, your focus is spotty, and your decision-making ability is diminished.
Now, imagine walking into the same difficult situation after getting sleep, after taking a walk, having a good meal, and having connecting with a friend. Now you’re ready, right?
This is how you want to enter every difficult situation in your life.
Your life and well-being depend on this. Literally.
Your family needs you.
Your friends need you.
Your colleagues need you.
I need you.
Would you, please, get a healthy meal now, and go to bed early tonight? Get your energy back.
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