Energy Levels (4 of 4)

Let’s recap on the joy of working. I believe the thing most people regret at their death bed is that they lived someone else’s life and not their own. That they made decision because society demanded it from them and not because they wanted to do what they did.

You chose your job for a reason. People come into your life for a reason. You are given challenges in work or life for a purpose of solving them. If you got made redundant at a few jobs and you notice this is always for the same reason, then look inside yourself to find out what the reason is inside you. do not try to be analytical from a logical point of view but try to look at it from an emotional psychological point of view. You might discover a pattern you need to resolve. Something that is in your behaviour and results in you experiencing the same situation until you solve it for yourself.

People, situations, jobs etc. all come into your life for you to learn to become who you are supposed to become. On your path to destiny you meet the right people and you might just meet them for a certain period of time for them to change something inside you to help you on your journey. Some stay longer, mentors and advisors, good friends and partners. They are there for good to help you for your life journey. At least most of the time. I am always seeking mentors, people I trust, to help me developing.

And you attract those people too. If you have read or seen the Secret (The Secret, www.thesecret.tv, Rhonda Byrne) understand the Law of Attraction (LOA). It is about the thought that like attracts like. If you have a negative attitude in life and focus on the negative things, you will attract the negative things. So if you focus on the positive things in life, the universe will respond with positivity and will get you in touch with the right people, things and bring all this positivity into your life you deserve. This is nothing you can grasp without practising. And letting go of everything to focus on it is key. Visualise the outcome, the new job or car and ask it to come into your life. And it will materialise. Believe.

From my blog: You and the Universe, 8th November 2011

Rhonda Byrne in the Secret Newsletter the other day wrote the following:

Your job is you and only you. When you are working in harmony with the law, no-one can come between you and the Universe. However if you think another person can get in the way of what you want, then you have done a flip to the negative. Focus on creating what you want.

You are the centre of divine operation in your life, and your partner is the Universe. No one can get in the way of your creation.

I liked that quote for several reasons. The Law of Attraction means whatever you do in life comes back, a bit like Karma. It is also about you attracting the same things until you break a pattern.

That makes me reflect on the problems I had with the car, all the illnesses (colds) I had at the same time, annoying customer service from both the car people and my online shopping provider. I get wound up by it and I seem to go from one case to another until I break the cycle and MY attitude.

Instead of focusing your energy on what you do not want, you need to identify the positive things, things you really want. In your job, in your personal life, everywhere.

So be positive and try to focus on the things you want in life, not the ones you do not want. Because you are the centre of your diving operation: you are in charge of your thoughts and your life.

Give it a go. Be positive.

It might be difficult to believe but having a good spiritual life and believing in something superior in life, will help you to make more sense and give you more purpose and satisfaction. As you need to focus on the positive outcomes, the good things in life. You soon will attract the positives! Try it. Today!

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Energy Levels (3 of 4)

Let’s come back to a work life balance for a moment. With today’s omni-connectivity, we are more inclined to work all the time. A quick check of your emails at night….I try not to. Working from home or in the office, by the time I am home I try to not check my emails and I don’t get my phone to remind me. Most things can wait until the morning.

Regarding work and life cycles during the day, there is also a weekly pulse which has its peak on a Wednesday morning and a low on the weekend. Again, keep very important meetings to Wednesday morning and do your admin Friday afternoon. Try to get exercise into your routine to increase your mental and emotional wellbeing and your health of course; ideally you should do both cardio and strength exercise and exercise six times a week. This goes in line with a healthy life style mentioned previously and a healthy life in general. It makes you perform better!

Whether six times is the right norm depends on what you are doing. At time of writing I exercise 2x 10K running a week and 4x a week I do strength exercises. Then I take the dog for a walk and have an active life style whilst not overeating, eating healthy and little. Yet that changes as you go along, also depending if you want to loose weight, gain weight or maintain weight. There is lots of advice out there to make sure you are doing what you need to be doing.

Without wanting to go into greater details, but as it relates to your energy levels, make sure you eat the right stuff. The opinions divide whether you should constantly eat to keep your blood sugar levels stable, e.g.  eat six times a day, or only have three meals a day. I am not a nutritionist but generally speaking I believe if you have a hearty breakfast (cereal, fruit salad, porridge) and then a snack mid morning (muesli bar, not fattening crackers, bananas), a good lunch with balanced food (vegetable, meat or vegetable food, rice, salad, sushi) and then a mid afternoon healthy snack like some almonds or other nuts whilst finishing the day on a low calorie meal like a tomato salad, a tuna salad or baked aubergines or cracker bread with humous, this seems quite balanced and gives you plenty of energy.

In regards to energy, we also need to take work culture into consideration. As a manager I try to encourage staff to have a healthy work life balance and make sure to properly regenerate during the weekend. Also, you should encourage a culture that offers to take time off when needed and make up the hours, flexible working and doing tasks according to your energy cycles as mentioned above.

When you are ill you are ill. do not be ill and WFH (work from home) just because you can. You need to try to give your body the rest it needs and ensure for renewal. If you work all week and weekends, you never rest. Your mind never rests. If work keeps you up at night, then there is something wrong. Work on it, get a coach, speak to your colleagues or good friend or manager.

Life should not be about work life balance but about life life balance. You only have this one life and you need to ensure that you spend most of your time doing something you enjoy, so make sure you get a job you enjoy. You spend most of your time there. Then the work becomes a hobby almost, a place to be and enjoy doing what you would be doing anyway, is not that fantastic. Whilst you think you cannot choose I believe you can.

Hopefully this was useful to get you thinking….are you enjoying what you do and how you do it?

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Energy Levels (2 of 4)

How did it go? Did you stop at 6 pm or 6:30 pm? Did you go home. Maybe even for a walk or run after work.

The motivation to change any of your work habits is about your motivational direction, and that is true for almost any change you would like to do. Don’t do it too radically and be motivated “towards to” rather than “away from”. What I mean by that is that you want to have a goal, e.g. taking breaks, renew during the day, so you are motivated by achieving that. It is about positive motivation and change. Make this into a habit and build a routine; as an example you go for a 30 minute walk around lunch time no matter what is on your desk and whether it is raining or not. Just do it. Get into the habit and feel renewed!

Anything you can put into a habit, a routine, will manifest itself as something given. That is true for an 8 pm finish as it is for a 6 pm finish, a lunch time walk or the latte in the morning.

But energy levels also depend on your health. And health, at least to my mind, is a key factor to productivity and output. This is without prejudice, e.g. there are less abled people with special needs, however you must look at the wider population.

Are you exercising regularly? Do you drink a lot of coffee? Do you sleep 7-8 hours a day? Find your own routine. Could you try to get a 20 minute nap just after or during lunch hours? It works wonders for me…if I get a chance that is. Research even suggests having 6 hours at night and 20-60 minutes during the day as the optimum sleep. Some people live on 6 hours of sleep and get up at 5am to exercise, have breakfast and be in the office on time. Others leave last minute, come to the office late and their whole day is messed up because they are all over the place by the time they arrive.

This comes back to my earlier point, organise yourself and be on time or early. Spend 5 minutes before work to get ready, chat with your colleagues, get a glass of water, do some pushups or read the news rather than starting your day on the wrong foot and make your whole day a big mess because you cannot focus. If you ever have such a day, try to forget about the morning, close your eyes, let go of your bad morning experience, and start over again. With this big smile on your face I mentioned earlier!

From my blog: Work Life Balance, 29th August 2008

A thought I had was when I have been working from home, which happens occasionally, whether I have a better or worse work-life-balance.

And, the answer is difficult. I remember that studying for my MBA we discussed that if you work from home, you should get your own room/desk and area in the house. This way you could “go home” after work and relax, e.g. getting your life.

However, for me as an occasional “working from home” person, it is not that easy. A small house with only one proper desk, it is like you are in your living room all day.

Often, when I discuss that with clients, I get the answer of “I would get too distracted at home” – I agree, some people can. For me it is usually the other way around:

I get up my usual time and sit on the laptop about one hour earlier than I usually do. Then, from a lunch point of view, I eat whatever is around and never really feel hungry, ergo do not have a proper break until the late afternoon. Which is, when I go back to my desk and deal with some work over in the US and end up shutting down the laptop around 7 or 8 pm.

Wow, that makes it a full 11 hour day (only noticed that now). And, my way home is quick. I just sit on the other side of the table and end up being home .

Now, there are two sides to that:

I personally get more distracted by work than by home, e.g. I enjoy working and what I do, so end up working more at home but cannot really escape work physically. But, I have enough confidence to turn things off if it is getting too much.

Finding the right balance is important. And, as long as you enjoy the work you are doing, working from home occasionally is fine. However, I actually enjoy being in the office too – even if I am alone in the office. Just to get away from home  Is that double minded?

I read “big brother’s” comment about life-life balance. There are so many discussions about what is right or wrong and I believe nothing is right or wrong as long as it works for you (and ultimately for the person you work for). If you cannot turn off the laptop when it’s time and you cannot turn off your blackberry when needed, then you do need to work on your priorities. You need to enjoy what you are doing, that is really the key.

How does your life life or work life balance work? Can you turn off. We continue with that next week. Yet, I work a lot more from home these days, and I manage to turn off better but I have a new focus: kids. They give me the reason to switch off when it is time and then occasionally I go back to my desk.

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Energy Levels (1 of 4)

This is yet another chapter. For productivity of life, this is probably one of the most important chapters ever. It is about how to conserve energy. How to gain more energy. Energy levels are one of the most important things in life. The more energy you have, the more you get done.

Let’s do a little exercise for your “frame of mind”:

Sit down and think you are really demotivated, tired and down. Let your whole body sink in and feel awful and sad. Do you notice how you sink into yourself and feel like doing nothing?

Now sit upright. Smile. Think of your latest holiday or anything that was a great experience, celebrate in your head. Do you notice how your smile and body posture gets you into a better mood; are you ready to conquer the world? You have more energy, right?

If you want to take it further, whilst being in the latter mood, try to think of something sad, whilst maintaining to smile. Try it. It is difficult, isn’t it?

Now I am not suggesting you should run around all day smiling and grinning – of course you can – but maybe having a lot more smiles on your face generally throughout the day or when you feel a bit saddened or annoyed, might just help you make it through the day.  A smile goes a long way. Be enthusiastic about life, about what you do and what you have achieved. Be proud!

There is a book about energy levels by Tony Schwartz called The way we are working is not working (Schwartz, Tony with Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D. (2010), The Way We’re Working is not working, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, London). In his book, Tony suggests that you should never work for more than 90 minutes and then take a break. He supports that with a lot of research on Ultradian cycles and suggests that your energy household depends on a lot of things. Ultradian cycles are natural high and low energy cycles your body goes through. After every 90 minutes of work you should have a renewal phase where you meditate, nap or listen to music. Or you go to the gym, a run or a walk.

This book is fundamental to my belief system. Whilst of course we never apply all the rules and suggestions, just applying a good balance of working and resting, rejuvenating at work, will go a long way. A must-read book in my opinion. Standing at your desk or trying to nap or relax during lunch time is important.

We are living in a world where time is money and you get paid on time rather than on output. The mentality is often 9-6 (or longer) and based on that you do your time and go home. If you sat there all day on Facebook or did your work does not matter as long as no one notices, right? Tony suggests that with us working longer hours without a break, we begin to default to behaviours that reduce our own effectiveness. This can be impatience, frustration, distraction and disengagement. And that’s the cycle we need to break. This is a downward cycle.

The energy is coming from physical sources, like breaks, but also from emotional sources like the security you have by having a job and someone taking care of you. However, for most of us it is also, in analogy to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, about mental energy, self expression, and significance as the source of spiritual energy. I matter and can do something I enjoy; I can contribute to something that makes a difference.

Similar to the chapter about the here and now, you need to build an awareness first. Notice what you want to change and that you put too many inefficient hours into your work. If you leave the office past 8 pm on most days you might just be too overworked to get anything done or you have problems prioritising or shutting down. Take a break, go home and finish very urgent things after a break. It will take you a lot less time doing it and the output is most likely better too.

Try this for the next week. Try to stop at 6 pm. Work will still be there tomorrow, and you will be there. But are you more effective the next day because you get more rest?

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