…to become more productive, is that time is a finite resource. There are only 24 hours in a day. However well we manage our time, there is always a limit to what we can achieve.
As companies continue to restructure in answer to the pressures of the current economic crisis and departments are asked to produce the same with less resources, what can we do?
How can we become more productive?
The secret is to manage our energy.
As opposed to time, energy is an infinite resource if we only knew how to manage it.
Did you know we have four dimensions of energy?
- Mental – the degree to which we are focused
- Emotional – to emotionally connected to the people we interact with
- Spiritual – a deep desire to be living our core values
It is by nurturing these four interdependent energy areas that we can become more productive in any given time period.
But how do we nurture energy? By expending and renewing.
Because energy capacity diminishes with both overuse and underuse, we must learn to balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal
When we want to increase physical muscle, we work out. We stress the muscle just a little out of its comfort zone, but we then rest to avoid tearing and pain. This is how we gain muscle and build resistance and energy to run marathons for example. It is the same with the mental, emotional and spiritual muscles.
Most of us are undertrained physically and spiritually (not enough stress) and overtrained mentally and emotionally (not enough recovery)
We are not machines, intended to work at full capacity without resting. We are human beings composed of energy, possessing infinite potential if we are only alert to the natural rhythms within us.
So in order to be more productive what do we have to do to make sure that our four energy batteries are performing at near maximum capacity?
To maximize our physical capacity we need to sleep 7- 8 hours, to take breaks from any activity every 90-120 minutes, to eat healthy food and to exercise (nothing new there except perhaps for the regular breaks)
To maximize our mental energy we need to be rested to be able to concentrate well and we need to be engaged in activities where we are learning
More positive emotional energy comes from stopping to listen to other people, to consider their point of view and to practice routines of getting calm if we feel irritated by other people’s behavior.
And everything is driven by paying attention to nurturing our spiritual energy – to finding a purpose in what we are doing that feeds our most deepest values.
Until companies appreciate that their employees are human beings and can only function as human beings not as machines, productivity will never be maximized. And thousands of days will continue to be lost to sickness as people continue to burn out.
For more information on this fascinating subject, check out the book “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.