Time flies when you’re having fun.
It’s true, isn’t it? When you’re out and about and enjoying yourself, then it appears that time has somehow gone faster.
Of course, it’s impossible for time to pass quicker.
Time is static unless you have a time-machine.
The same happens at work.
When doing a monotonous task, time drags. But when you’re working on something you like, then you forget all about the time.
Why is this?
According to Flip Brown, author of Balanced Effectiveness at Work: How to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor Without Driving Yourself Nuts, “The difference has to do with our energy and enthusiasm rather than the amount of time we have.”
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
You feel energized when you’re with people you like and doing tasks you like.
And when you have more energy, you remain more focused and achieve better results.
So, how do you make sure you maintain your energy?
Twelve Ways You Can Become More Successful By Managing Your Energy
1. Take Regular Breaks
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management method. So how does it help you manage your energy? For each Pomodoro (interval), you work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break of 3-5 minutes. After four Pomodoros, you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
When you’re laser focused on the work at hand, it’s easy to become fully immersed. That usually has an adverse impact on productivity. The brain can only concentrate for so long without taking a break.
Taking regular breaks helps you to re-energize. If you can get up and move around, perhaps even take a quick walk, then you can recharge your energy and focus on the next task.
2. Utilize Your Natural High Energy
We all have our favorite time of day, and I don’t mean when we finish work 🙂
Some of us have plenty of energy in the morning; others come to life after lunch. The key is finding when you have your highest energy levels and tapping into them.
If you’re not sure when you function best, then monitor yourself for a week. Note down when you were feeling more energized, compared to when you were feeling more sluggish and craving a nap.
3. Take A Power Nap
Talking about taking a nap, author Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D., recommends taking a 15-20 minute power nap to boost your energy levels.
Much like rebooting your PC when it becomes slow, a power nap can help reset your system.
Famous UK Prime Ministers Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher were both advocates of taking a nap during the day. And so too was Albert Einstein.
In Spain, it’s customary to have a siesta after lunch. Not only because of the hot climate but also because they recognize the benefits of an afternoon nap.
4. Get Your Sleep
Apart from a power nap, are you getting enough sleep? How much is enough?
We’re all different. I need 8 hours sleep so that I can function properly throughout the day. Others can manage on much less.
The key is to make sure your body has the right amount of sleep so you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
5. Have A Health Check
When was the last time you had a health check with your doctor?
A recent check-up showed that my Vitamin B12 levels were well below the expected norm.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause you to feel drowsy and lethargic. The good news is that you can get a booster from your doctor to help restore it.
And, of course, your energy levels will climb too.
6. Drink Plenty Of Water
Given that our bodies are made of 60% water it seems logical that we need to keep that level maintained.
Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can have have a major effect on energy levels and brain function.
Opinions vary on how much water we should drink each day to stay hydrated. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.
7. Don’t Eat Too Much
Food plays an important part in maintaining your energy levels. If you eat too much food, then your body has to work harder to digest it and as a consequence, your energy levels drop.
When you start to feel sluggish, it’s easy to think a quick dose of coffee and chocolate is the answer.
But there are plenty of other foods which are proven to boost your energy levels (without expanding your waistline).
8. Maintain a ‘Happy Food’ Diet
Do you ever feel happy after eating certain foods? Turns out that certain foods can make us feel happier because their compounds have been shown to have an effect on our mood.
For example, foods like turkey, spinach, and banana can aid the production of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter most linked to happiness.
And when you’re happy, then you have more energy!
9. Take Your Lunch Break
In some offices, there is a nasty habit to continue working while eating your lunch.
You know the scene. Type with one hand while stuffing a sandwich in your mouth with the other.
I remember an old boss of mine saying: “Lunch is for wimps.” Sadly, that came back to bite him when he ended up burned out and off work for months.
It’s much better if you step away from your desk and leave your work alone.
Take some lunch and socialize with colleagues.
Take some exercise. A 30-minute brisk walk can work wonders. It helps to revitalize you and clear your mind ready for your afternoon tasks.
10. Clear Your Mind
Taking time to get your mind cleared and focused is a great way to revitalize your energy.
Often we can become so engrossed and consumed by an activity to the point where we can’t think straight. Taking time away to switch off from the work task and focus on nourishing your mind can have a positive effect.
Some people prefer to start the day with a 30-minute yoga/meditation/mindfulness type session. Others prefer to slip in shorter sessions throughout the day.
You’ll find what works best for you.
11. Exercise Your Body
Taking a more aggressive approach to exercise suits some people more than others. But you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to benefit from physical exercise. Little and often can be just as effective as running a marathon.
When Leo from Buffer decided to dig a little deeper into the benefits of exercise, he discovered that “BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so good.”
In short, when we exercise, our brains produce chemicals that make us feel good. And when we feel good our energy levels soar!
Here is a super 5-minute stretching workout you can do:
Relaxing Stretching Workout for Stiff Muscles & Stress Relief – Easy Stretches to Do at Work
I’ve found it’s a great way for me to get stretching, especially in the afternoon when I start to wane, and my muscles are stiff from sitting at the computer. You could even incorporate this in your Pomodoro 5-minute breaks.
12. Cut Out Negative Influences
Unfortunately, certain things in our lives can have a negative impact. These include both people and activities.
Some things only drain our energy.
Chip Richards suggests taking some to reflect on your life and list out the things that get you energized versus the things that make you feel drained.
Once you have identified the activities and people who are life-draining, then you have the opportunity to let them go.
For example, things like the mainstream media present a disproportionate view of the negative to positive ratio of the world. Swap out these sorts of influences for ones that will inspire you.
In his infamous book, The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss wrote about what he called ‘selective ignorance.’
He didn’t need to fill his time consuming media junk. Instead, he caught the newspaper headlines on the newsstand as he walked to lunch.
And he only read fiction books for an hour each night as relaxation before sleeping.
Take a leaf out of his book and feel the surge in your energy levels as the negativity is removed.
Time is static. You can’t change the number of hours in a day. But you can manage and improve your energy.
And when you manage your energy, not your time, then you’ll enjoy more success in life.
Start managing your time by following the twelve steps above.