Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Energy Leadership

Rough week. The bitter cold has caused problems for the Toronto warehouse staff. The building is not well enough insulated and the heaters could just not keep up. And some broken heaters (and of course everyone who repaired them were swamped) but got them fixed now. Better now but I hope the cold snap breaks soon.

I just finished reading a great book, "The Power of Full Engagement – Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

One of the analogies they use in the book (I do sometimes have problems with analogies because they don’t always apply) is that of athletic training. In building muscles, one exercises intensively and then rests. Their view of succeeding in work is the same that you should work intensively for spurts of time follow by times of renewal (this is sort of like the Stephen Covey’s Seven Law – Sharpen the Saw).

It is too late for me to change the title of the blog from Time Leadership to something else but they are absolutely right to say that most effectiveness has to do with the appropriate use of energy and it is not only about time. I often see people that put in the time but don't get the effective results and part of this can be due to their energy level.

I have been spending a lot of time in the past few months thinking about when my high energy times are and how to maximize the return from those.

One of the other concepts covered in the book is: purpose is a great builder of energy; the clearer you are on your purpose (which relates to your values) the more likely you are to be high energy and highly motivated.

They talk about four different areas of energy:

The most obvious is physical energy then
Emotional energy
Spiritual energy
Mental energy (appropriate focus and realistic optimism)

One thing that I like about the book is that it encourages positive rituals or habits. It even has a work section at the back of the book on how you can develop positive habits. It also has a section on defining purpose with a fairly good exercise on how to do it.

In the back of the book there is a list of the Most Important Physical Energy Management Strategies:

Go to bed early and wake up early (I am pretty good at getting up early; however, I still have yet to master going to bed early)

Go to sleep and wake up consistently at the same times (I could use some work on this one, although I get up fairly consistently during the week, I tend to sleep in on the weekends)

Eat five to six small meals daily

Eat breakfast every day
Eat a balanced, healthy diet
Minimize simple sugars

I do pretty well on the last 3

Drink 48 to 64 ounces of water daily (There is now some controversy about people drinking too much water, so this is one you might want to research)

Take breaks every ninety minutes during work (This is something that I don't yet do, although I often use a strategy of working on something different as a break)

Get some physical activity daily (I am good on doing this)

Do at least two cardiovascular interval workouts and two strength training workouts a week (I am good on this)

So still could use some work.

Great book. Recommend it as a must read for all.


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