6 Ways For Maintaining High Energy Levels
A few months ago I wrote a piece about riding the waves of life. It discussed how our energy levels (and our productivity, happiness and motivation levels) fluctuate on a regular basis. Whether it is monthly, weekly or even daily, these fluctuations can have a very considerable influence on the way we live our lives. At the end of that post I declared I was going to experiment with ways of trying to influence energy levels so that I would have less dips, more peaks and greater balance. It took several months but here, finally, are my suggestions:
- Don’t multi-task
Despite it being the done thing in business circles to focus on multi-tasking as a way of boosting productivity, humans aren’t actually very good at it. What’s more it takes the average person twenty minutes before the brain starts to focus in on a task. If you start juggling with other work at the same time, that figure will only increase. This is all before you even consider the amount of extra mental energy required to multi-task.
- Get plenty of sleep
Some people are early birds, some are night owls and then there are others (like myself) who are somewhere in between. It’s just like some of us are tall, thin or blonde. One common productivity tip is to get up early, so you have more time to do stuff with less distractions. That’s great if you are comfortable getting up at 5AM, but for the rest of us it will cause an instant drain on our energy. If you are the sort of person who prefers to stay up late, use that time when everybody else is in bed to your advantage. Fit your lifestyle around your sleeping habits.
- Include leisure time
Having free time to relax and do your own thing without worrying about the time or feeling pressure to get things done is essential. However, it’s an often forgotten about part of productivity. People who swear by GTD and live it 24/7 may be very productive, but they are also the ones who constantly look drained and worn out. Be productive when you need to be and take it easy the rest of the time.
- Get regular exercise
What? Isn’t exercise a surefire way of draining your energy? In the short term maybe; after a hard workout you will definitely feel tired. However you will certainly feel a lot better for it. Now do it a few times a week and think of all the feel good vibes you will be getting. Healthy body, healthy mind after all. Compare it to maintaining a car; give it the attention it needs and it will run more smoothly and efficiently for longer.
- De-clutter and simplify
When your life is complex with many things going on, it can be an unnecessary drain physically (the amount of activity you do) and mentally (the amount of things you have to focus on). As a result you need to strip as much out of your life as possible, especially in three key areas
- Long term focus
Mission statements and long term planning is a mainstay of personal development teaching. However the same rule about multi tasking applies here. Keep it simple, focus on just the handful of long term goals that really matter to you.
Whether it be achieving a de-cluttered home, keeping track of your money or cutting out toxic relationships, streamline your lifestyle so you don’t have too many unnecessary things fighting for your time, attention and energy.
- Daily focus and to-do lists
Trim and simplify the work you have do on a daily basis. If you have to work through your inbox regularly, develop systems to streamline it. If your house is always a mess hire a cleaner. Trim your to-do lists and cut out irrelevant tasks and low priority work.
- Long term focus
- Create balance
What underpins all of the above advice is the idea of creating balance in your life. For instance, if you are all about being productive and never give yourself a break or have leisure time you will burn out (essentially going to one extreme). Likewise if you focus on relaxation and fun you will become jaded and uninspired (going all the way to the other extreme). The trick is to find the balance between the two.