“The way we’re working isn’t working”.
That’s true and it’s also the title of a book by a man I greatly respect, Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project.
For a long time now, people have been complaining that they are being expected to do more in less time and with fewer resources. It’s no wonder people are stressed. Then add COVID-19 into the mix and the problem is magnified.
Manage your energy, not your time.
Schwartz says it’s time to stop focusing on time management and start paying attention to energy management instead. I think he’s right. Too many of my clients are overworked and overtired when they come to me. They burn the candle at both ends trying to get their work done – and done well. But they are heading for burnout.
We need to change the way we think about our work performance. It’s not time that matters. It’s energy that drives our performance. To be resilient, we need to replenish our energy stores. That’s where we need to put our focus. Organisations which want to get the best out of their people should start thinking about how to help them build and maintain their resilience.
The face of energy
I want to be clear that there is more than one kind of energy we need to manage. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy each need to be taken care of. By spiritual, I mean those things which are good for the soul such as sitting by the beach or doing something you love.
Be more resilient, happier, and more productive with these tools.
Purpose. Yes, your purpose is a tool and it’s powerful. Do you know what gets you out of bed each morning? What you’re good at and passionate about? Do you understand the difference you want to make in the world? When do you feel most alive? What makes you feel like a success? Knowing your purpose gives you energy – all facets of energy – and makes you feel happier and more fulfilled. You have the power to choose your purpose and then make choices in your life which lead you in that direction. This post about defining your leadership purpose might be helpful to you.
Your body. This is the most informative tool you have. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Yes, we notice it when we feel tired, but what about the other information your body gives you? The churning stomach of stress, the sweaty palms of fear, the sleeplessness of worry, the hunger for alcohol when you need support or escape… Your body is an excellent measuring stick for all forms of your energy. Your day might be too busy to stop and take notice of what it’s telling you so make time at the end of every day to reflect. How did you feel? How did your body react? What did it tell you? Then practice self-care and work on some of the characteristics we covered in the last post.
Connections. Relationships are often the first things to suffer during tough times, but they are your greatest source of resilience. Solid connections are your lifeline. When you have someone to talk to, someone who “has your back” or a team who can support you when you need it, you feel secure and supported. It also contributes to your physical wellbeing. Resiliency researcher Elliot Friedman says, “The availability of social support in all its forms—instrumental support, emotional support, support with how you think about things—they all matter and help us in facing challenge.” Every moment you spend building and maintaining personal connections will repay you in improved resilience.
It’s time to put away the clock. Stop measuring the hours and start paying attention to your energies. I know this won’t be easy for you because it’s completely the opposite to what we’ve been trained to do.
You can count on me as your coach to help you change your thinking, reframe your views, and discover new resources for your energies. When you work with me, we’ll improve your resilience and change your focus from deadlines to outcomes. Ready to improve your energy and quality of life? Let’s chat.