Ten Ways to Have More Energy for Your Work

tired-ladyWhen I was in graduate school, I thought that I was working as hard as I possibly could in my studies.  After all, I stayed at my desk for hours and read an incredible number of pages each day.  I thought that if I could do without sleep, then surely my grades would reflect the extra time of study.

I was wrong.

Quite often I simply became exhausted.  My lack of sleep hurt my creativity in my thinking.  My fatigue often resulted in a lack of engagement.

One thing has not changed.  Just as I needed energy for school years ago, today I need energy to do my work.  The following are some of the practices that have been helpful to me.

1.  Rest and sleep are very important.  Although sometimes I don’t sleep that well, I take the importance of this more seriously than I did at one time.

2.  Regular breaks are important.  Sometimes I will leave my office and walk through the campus for about ten minutes.  There are times when I will make a brief call to a friend to talk about something totally unrelated to what I have been doing that morning.

3.  Journaling can help me monitor how much energy I actually have.  For example, on some occasions, I have written in my journal about how tired I felt.  I really didn’t realize this was on my mind until I wrote it.  Journaling can help with self-awareness.

4.  I will work for 25 minutes and then take a break.  For larger projects, I will work for 90 minutes and take a break.

5.  For years, I focused on making lists.  I still make lists (I use Nozbe).  However, I am now very intentional about placing these items on my actual calendar with a start/stop time scheduled.  There is something very energizing about completing a task and moving on to the next item.

6.  I have become very conscious about how much time I spend on the Internet.  Too much time in front of a screen can be energy depleting.

7.  Read what energizes you.  When I first went to graduate school, I only read books that were biblical, theological, or ministry related.  In order to “keep up” with other ministers and students, I thought that I needed to only read books in these categories.  This was a mistake.  I was actually ignoring the reading selections that fostered energy.

8.  Exercise.  For many years, I ran either in the mornings or the afternoons.  Now I go to a gym.  There have been times in recent weeks in which I stopped going to the gym regularly.  This resulted in a noticeable drop in my energy level.

9.  Know that your attitude can make a big difference in your energy level.  People who have a persistent negative attitude may find that their energy is impacted.  Even our use of language can impact our energy.

“This is a rotten day!”

“Why does everything bad have to happen to me?”

“I blew it again.  I am such a loser.”

10.  Pay attention to your personal growth.  When you invest in your growth and development, you are blessing all who come in contact with you.  You and I are better spouses, parents, leaders, etc. when we invest in our own growth.

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