We all aspire to be Dicky Fox from Jerry Maguire.
I’ll bet he doesn’t even drink coffee.
The reality is that, for most of us, our energy ebbs and flows throughout the day. We aren’t going 100 mph all day long.
Around 3pm, trying to get something accomplished is like pushing a cooked noodle uphill.
So what if we leaned into our energy flow to take advantage of the Dicky Fox time, while accommodating our natural low-energy time?
Here are some tips for working with your own natural energy flow, rather than fighting against it.
You’ll get more done, I promise:
- ZONE OUT: Figure out what time of day is your “zone” and load high value tasks within it. For a few days, take active note of your routine and how energetic/productive you feel at different times of day. Note when you’re in “flow state.” Then try to schedule difficult or challenging tasks during that time (whether it’s first thing in the morning or late night).
- OWN IT: Stop beating yourself up for cruising Instagram; give yourself a break to do that, then return to work. You might be spending more time unproductively being guilty than if you just took a moment to goof off.
- SLEEP RHYTHMS: Do you need a power nap? Lots of famous go-getters included a brief nap in their routine (Churchill, Benjamin Franklin). Are you getting enough quality sleep in general? Your body needs that restoration time, so don’t skimp.
- TLC: Don’t try to “push through” injuries or sickness. Take time off for recovery instead of doing half-baked work while ill. People who force themselves to keep going aren’t going to win a medal; they’re just going to infect the rest of us with that virus.
- FUEL YOURSELF: Watch your snacks. Grab a handful of almonds or some apples/peanut butter instead of a Snickers or another cup of joe. The sugar or caffeine high will give you an artificial burst of energy, but then the crash will come.
- CHANGE IT UP: When you start to feel your energy flagging, change scenery and/or your state of mind. Stand up at your desk, walk down the stairs, or use a technique to change your entire state of mind.
- PERSONALIZE: Don’t use others’ schedules, follow your own body’s queues. Not everyone can do 4am crunches, and not everyone is jamming uninterrupted at Midnight. Listen to yourself, and set a schedule that is optimized for you.
- MOVE: Exercise doesn’t sap energy, it creates it. Be a body in motion, and create your own energy source. Elevated endorphins can last a few hours after intense exercise!
Interested in reading more about how to manage your energy? Check out “The Power of Full Engagement,” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, which contains a step by step approach to increasing performance and productivity, or this HBR article co-authored by Tony Schwartz.
How do you keep yourself energized and manage your priorities? Please share your own tips!