Harness Your Energy: Part 2

Harnessing energy—that wonderful force that can be drained and slip away from us if we’re not careful.

Some of the tools that will be your energy allies are prioritization and goal setting, mindfulness, and environment.

Read on for tips…

Prioritization & Goal Setting:

Set clear and achievable goals: define your long-term goals but smaller goals and planned steps to get there will give you a realistic roadmap to follow.

Break tasks into smaller chunks: Giving yourself deadlines for small tasks will make them manageable and keep you from being overwhelmed. Make them practical and you will be making consistent effort towards your goals. Celebrate victories, big or small.

Single-tasking: Multitasking is overrated! Single-tasking is proven to help you get tasks done quicker and at a higher quality than trying to do multiple things at once. We try to do it all, but Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing. It’s not efficient and it’s draining us.

Mindfulness & Attention:

Practicing mindfulness meditation for ten minutes a day improves concentration and the ability to keep information active in one’s mind, known as “working memory.” The brain achieves this by becoming more efficient, requiring fewer brain resources to do tasks.

Mindfulness is being aware of each moment, while being fully present of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and environment. Meditation is used as a mindfulness technique to help us achieve this awareness. Mindfulness also incorporates acceptance into everyday situations, which means that we do not judge our thoughts or feelings.

Mindfulness helps us grow new neural networks in the brain, reduces stress, and improves focus.

Mindfulness Techniques:

Breathing – Sit quietly and focus on your breath. Observe each inhale and exhale, noticing how your belly and chest rise and fall with your breath. Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath.

Body Scan – Mentally scan your body from head to toe. As you move your attention through your body, notice any areas of tightness or discomfort. Consciously soften and relax those spots.

Other techniques include mindful eating, counting, walking meditations, and gratitude lists.

Working Environment:

Distractions are endless and they can be internal and external. Internal distractions include hunger, fatigue, or anxiety. External distractions include interruptions from colleagues, email pings, meetings, or phone notifications. Note which distractions pull you the most.

Create a (mostly) distraction-free workspace: Close non-essential apps, turn off notifications, set boundaries with colleagues or family, set regular hours, put a lock on your door, seek natural light, and organize desk clutter.

Incorporate movement and breaks into the workday: You want to avoid complete burnout and pauses allow your brain to reset. Depending on how long the break is, take a short walk, get fresh air, take a power nap, have lunch with a friend, or practice meditation, mindfulness, or breathwork. Breaks are a vital part of achieving energy balance.