Personal Energy Crisis

How is your energy level?  Do you make it through the day without nodding off to sleep or do you find that you need to use toothpicks to keep your eyelids open?  Or, do you find that you need regular stimulants just to get through the day?  What effect does your personal energy crisis have on your personal and professional life?

Here are a few ideas to help you fuel your tank and keep your energy level up:

  • Get up and move.  Research shows that sitting at your desk for an extended period of time is not good for your mental and physical condition.  Every 20 or 30 minutes you should look for an opportunity to at least stand up, stretch and even go for a short walk.
  • Eat energizing food.  Fruits and nuts provide sustainable energy.  And, eating large meals can make you feel drowsy and lethargic.  Eat small portions more often.
  • Take power naps.  Research shows that even 15 minutes to shut your eyes and relax can make a big difference.  Don’t be afraid to find a quiet place for a quick power nap during the day.

Having the energy to accomplish those things that are important to you is vital.  Be sure to take care of YOU and don’t burn out.

Contributed by Todd Musig, Productivity Practice, FranklinCovey

Walking into Walls

I was with a colleague the other day. After a long week of travel and customer meetings we decided to take a moment to relax. As he turned the corner, instead of walking into the sitting area, he walked directly into the wall. His body made a large thump as he expressed surprise and confusion about what just happened.

In our exhaustion, we probably laughed louder and longer than we should have but since then, his little encounter has made me think.  Literally or figuratively, when we are really tired and run down, walking into walls is a pretty common occurrence.

Think about what happens to you when you are tired. You can’t navigate the plans you have made, or things you really want to do. When you hit a wall of exhaustion, you can barely make time for anything except the absolutes. You know why that is?  Because your pre-frontal cortex, the front part of your brain that thinks, makes decisions, handles relationships, is completely worn out.  Think too, about the people around you. When you are tired, your co-workers, your boss, your kids, your friends all have to contend with your wall of exhaustion. You have nothing left to give from the executive function of your brain and suddenly you become less accessible, less creative, less solutions oriented and far less fun!

So what can we do to stop walking into walls? Choice 5 in The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity highlights our ability to re-fuel our brain by focusing on 5 energy drivers.  They are:

  • Move
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Relax
  • Connect

Making time to attend to these drivers on a consistent basis will fuel both our brains and our bodies. The key is to intentionally make those high value decisions that keep us charged and refreshed, so we can head off those walls of exhaustion.  Burnout and stress create a perpetual wheel of dysfunction. Yet, it is possible to break the cycle by simply consciously deciding that restoration of our bodies and our brains is one of the most important things we do each day.

Of course, this takes planning. These drivers often slip; because they are an afterthought or something we’ll get to “if” we have time. Don’t forget these all important big rocks! Add them to your master task list. Plug them into your calendar and keep the 5 driver promises you make to yourself with the same diligence as the promises you make to others. If you do, you’ll see your energy go up and your stress, guilt and exhaustion go way, way down.

After all, nobody likes walking into walls.

Contributed by Suzette Blakemore, Regional Productivity Practice Leader, FranklinCovey Co.

A Walk and a Good Nap

When I woke up I instantly knew it was going to be “one of those days”. After a week of travel and accumulated missed sleep, I was dragging. I tried to work on various projects, but my energy was low and my ability to focus was almost non-existent. My multiple attempts to remedy the situation with caffeine and sugar produced a brief energy bump, but did nothing to improve my attention. Finally, around 2:00 p.m. and barely able to keep my eyes open, I was forced to take a nap. I felt guilty as I set my mobile alarm for 45 minutes and instantly fell asleep. 39 minutes later I was awake. No alarm needed. I still felt tired and hazy, almost worse than before I laid down. For a moment I felt a deep sense of regret. It seemed this small amount of rest just made me more tired. Knowing I had work to finish, I decided to take my remaining six minutes and go for a quick walk up and down the street. The fresh air immediately worked to clear my head. Moving my legs and my arms started the blood pumping and within minutes I felt like myself again. I went back to the office and completed more work in three hours than I had in the previous six.

It is funny the things we forget. When my kids were little, their moods and their actions warned me when they needed to take a nap or a quick stroll around the block. I was always proud of myself when I recognized the warning signs and found a solution before catastrophe ensued. Since my kids are all grown, it is certain that I am not a little kid any more. Yet, not much has changed. If I pay attention, I know exactly how to care for myself. I often ignore the signs or go for the quick fix. But occasionally I remember, to make the world right again sometimes the only thing I need is a walk and a good a nap.

Contributed by Suzette Blakemore – Regional Practice Leader – Productivity