I’m reading a book I recommend highly, The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. This book poses the idea that you must manage your energy – not time – in four key areas (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). Less than 50 pages in, I read a story that made me stop short.
The story described a man, William, who was at his peak mental energy in the mornings. To take advantage of this high-performance time of the day, he would work with high intensity non-stop until midday. He estimated he got 70% of his work done before his midday break. But by early afternoon, his energy was spent and he had little ability to focus. By the end of the day, he dragged home and had no energy for his family in the evenings. His fatigue was so pronounced that he went to see a doctor to see if there was a medical issue, but all tests came back negative.
I read that example and identified – big time! And that draggy feeling in the afternoon? It’s a self- perpetuating cycle. My peak time is in the morning, so I cram everything in, which leaves me depleted for the afternoon, which tells me I better cram everything into the morning… and on the cycle goes.
The authors reflected that William was experiencing the most common performance barrier they encounter in their consulting business. Here was their solution:
“In the aftermath of his work with us, William made one relatively simple change in the way he worked. He began taking a break every 90 to 120 minutes, during which he ate something, drank some water and took at least a brief walk. Based on this change alone, within two weeks William estimated a 30 percent increase in his energy in the afternoons.*”
I love simple solutions, and this one was perfect for me. And because I’m shifting gears in my business so dramatically next year, I realized that I absolutely must master this new rhythm ASAP. In 2012, there are going to be so many unknowns, that all I could think is that I had better get a jump start on this resolution thing while I have the time to really incorporate it into my life.
Not to be an overachiever or anything, but I’m starting this New Year’s resolution now. As a matter of fact, I started last week and am already feeling better about my work rhythms and focus.
The moral of the story? Don’t put off until the New Year what can benefit you today! (and get a copy of The Power of Full Engagement!)