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Functioning at Your Best

August 16, 2012

All of us have a “prime time” in the day; it’s that time when you feel good, focused, and productive. For some, it’s early morning, while for others, it’s later in the day or evening. The idea is to understand the time you function at your best and schedule your daily routine around  your energy cycles.

An energy cycle is how your body functions throughout the day. You need to take note of when you feel good, when you feel tired, or you are just chugging along going through the motions. Not really achieving anything but looking like you are working.

Tracking your energy cycle comes from asking questions such as, are you an early bird or a night owl? Early birds get up and are ready to go as soon as they wake. Night owl’s find they’re slower to get up of a morning and get going but busy themselves with work of an evening.  For others, it is in between these two scenarios. The time you feel you work better is the time to schedule the work that requires the most concentration, focus and creativity. Leave the less demanding work such as reading mail, emails, and phone calls until your energy has dropped.

Energy Management not Time Management

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in their book ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ wrote, “The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It’s our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”

“Energy, not time, is our most precious resource”

Loehr and Schwartz

What we need to do is manage our energy so that we can manage our time better, be more productive, focused and reduce our stress. The quality of our energy is a reflection of our physical capacity.

The four levels of energy are:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

Physical energy – when your physical cycle is low, you may tire easily and be susceptible to illness. When your physical energy is high, you feel better and can accomplish more.

Emotional energy – this affects our mental stability, sensitivity, moods and emotions. When it’s low, we may be moody, bad tempered and irritable. When it’s good, we’re more likely to be cheerful, happy and sensuous.

Mental [Intellectual] energy – this is our ability to learn, memorise and analyse; our logic is sharp, our decision making and concentration is at its best. When it’s low, we may display poor judgement, find it hard to concentrate and have difficulty remembering things. When it’s high, we solve problems quickly, have a good memory and think effectively.

Spiritual energy – this doesn’t mean spiritual  in the ‘religious’ sense but in the connection to our values and to a purpose beyond our own self-interest. When it’s low, we can have a lack of drive. Spiritual energy is sustained by balancing a commitment to others with sufficient self-care.

If we’re balanced in all of these areas, we have the capacity to function at our best. That’s a fantastic way to be living life.

When we’re planning our week, we need to make sure we include “positive habits” to manage our energy in the four areas.

“Enthusiasm finds the opportunities

and energy makes the most of them”

Henry S. Haskins

In future articles, we will provide more information on what you can do to look after your energy levels so that you can function at the best levels for you.

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