5 Habits That Have Given Me More Energy Throughout the Day

(Starting the Day)

Your habits will either contribute to your energy or work to deplete your energy.

Three years ago, I made a huge change in my life.  For 35 years, I had served churches as a preacher.  My life was busy.  Rearing children.  Preparing sermons and classes.  Conversations with people.  Walking with others in our church through various crises.  Then in December 2013, we moved to Memphis where I would begin serving as Vice President of Harding School of Theology. That was quite a change in many ways.

What has helped me maintain energy more than anything is to establish certain habits that I do every day.   In other words, I try to cut down on the number of decisions that I make each morning related to time, and simply carry out the habits which have already been established.  In the past, far too often, I began each day by making numerous decisions about how I would spend that time. Even going to the gym to work out has become a habit.  (This has been far more effective than trying to decide every day whether I will go or not.)

The following are five daily habits that give me energy.

I begin every day by getting up early enough to read my Bible, pray regarding the day ahead, and thinking about what I plan to do this day. There is something about this intentionality that centers me and makes me ready to take on the day.  Ideally, I do this before checking e-mail.  I have found that when I begin by checking e-mail, there are often those surprise notes that have a way of preoccupying my mind and emotions.  I like to vary what I do during this time.  Sometimes I will read the morning reading from Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours.  On other occasions I will listen to the brief Pray as You Go podcast.  I find the variety to be very helpful.

I begin every day with a list of three things that I want to get done that day.  Typically, I will write these three things on a Post-it note and keep it in front of me in my office.  These are three important things that I really want to get done that day.  Now I also use Nozbe, an excellent organizer.  I have lists of action steps I need to take regarding a number of projects.  I also have a list of action items that are fairly urgent.  However, when it comes to the “must do’s” for the day, I have found a list of three to be very helpful.

I build within my day some activity that I know will add energy.  Some of these activities include reading certain books, talking with encouraging people, and not spending too much time at my desk.  I also use a stand-up desk which greatly adds to my energy.  Typically, I will alternate using my sitting desk and my standing desk.  At lunch, if I am not meeting someone, I will often go to a store that is enjoyable.  Anything to add energy.

I work within blocks of time.  In the morning, I try to attack the task that appears to be the most dull and energy draining.  I will set a timer for 25 minutes.  I have found that if the timer is running, I am less likely to chase a distraction or respond to a less important concern.  There is something energizing about beginning the day making headway on one of the most important tasks that I had hoped to make progress on or accomplish.  You may not need the timer, but for me it has been helpful.  I am reading Deep Work and have become sensitive to the need for some interrupted times of work.  Creating blocks of time where I can work has helped me a great deal.

I pay attention to how much exercise I am getting and how much water I am drinking.  I can feel such a difference during my work day when I am taking care of my body.  I can certainly tell the difference when I am not.

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One thought on “5 Habits That Have Given Me More Energy Throughout the Day

  1. Jim, I really enjoyed hearing the tips of how to structure a day and add energy. Even though I played basketball and ran track in school, I have not been one to feel more energy from exercising unfortunately! I do feel good about taking care of my body. Thank you for taking the time to write this article to help others!