I was going through some statistical data over the internet about ‘productivity and people’ the other day and was really shocked by looking at some of those values. The study shows that 93% of us are never successful to keep our new year resolutions. Not only that, most of us actually break them in the very first week itself. Thats terrifying huh!! Since I have set the goal of making myself more productive a year ago, I’ve read dozens of books and hundreds of articles on this topic since then (I am not kidding !!). We always have so much to do every single day and most of us never find enough time to complete all our tasks. And this way, we create huge bag of frustrations and disappointments on a daily basis. Today, through this article, I am going to try to point out one major reason that can define this so called laid back productivity.
Couple of weeks back, I got my hands on the book ‘The Power of Full engagement’ written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. As soon as I started reading it, everything just fell in place. The main idea of the book is it is never the ‘time’ that we should be worried about, it is really the ‘energy’ that controls everything. We never run out of time, otherwise there would not have been so much wastage of it. We do have enough time in a day to finish every single task that we want to finish. Instead, it is literally our energy that runs out pretty faster than we anticipate. Everything people do – from interacting with colleagues and making important decisions to spending time with their families – requires energy. Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake. We must sustain health oscillatory rhythms at four levels of what they term the “performance pyramid”: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Full engagement is the energy state that best serves performance. To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.The challenge of great performance is to manage our energy more effectively in all dimensions to achieve our goals. There are few energy management principles that drive the process.
1. Because energy diminishes both with overuse and under use, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.
2. To build capacity we must push beyond our normal limits training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do. We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity. We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our ordinary limits and then recovering.
3. Positive energy rituals – highly specific routines for managing energy – are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance. A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time, fueled by some deeply held value. The power of rituals is that they insure that we use as little conscious energy as possible where it is not absolutely necessary, freeing us to strategically focus the energy available to us in creative, enriching ways.
So how do we fill up our energy tanks?
1. Physical Energy: The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating. The size of our energy reservoir depends on the patterns of our breathing, the foods that we eat and when we eat them, the quantity and quality of our sleep, the degree to which we get intermittent recovery during the day and the level of our fitness.
2. Emotional Energy: The key muscles fueling positive energy are self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy. Negative emotions serve survival but they are very costly and energy inefficient in the context of performance. Any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming serves as a source of emotional renewal and recovery.
3. Mental Energy: Mental capacity is what we use to organize our lives and focus our attention. Nothing so interferes with performance and engagement as the inability to concentrate on the task at hand.The key supportive mental muscles include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity.Thinking uses up a lot of energy. The key to mental recovery is to give the conscious, thinking mind intermittent rest.
4. Spiritual Energy: Spiritual energy provides the force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It fuels passion, perseverance and commitment. Spiritual energy is derived from a connection to deeply held values and a purpose beyond our self-interest. At the practical level, anything that ignites the human spirit serves to drive full engagement and to maximize performance in whatever mission we are on.Some activities generate considerable spiritual renewal without demanding significant energy expenditure. These include walking in nature, meditation, reading an inspirational book, listening to music, or hearing a great speaker.
The Power of Positive Rituals:
Rituals serve as tools through which we effectively manage energy in the service of whatever mission we are on.All great performers rely on positive rituals to manage their energy and regulate their behavior. The limitations of conscious will and discipline are rooted in the fact that every demand on our self-control draws on the same limited resources.The most important role of rituals is to insure effective balance between energy expenditure and energy renewal in the service of full engagement. The most exacting challenge and the greater the pressure, the more rigorous our rituals need to be. The bigger the storm, the more inclined we are to revert to our survival habits, and the more important positive rituals become.
So, go ahead. Develop a strong ritual and stay energized !!