The missing ingredient to work is rest and renewal. Your body is meant to pulse, and does pulse—breathing, circadian rhythms, REM sleep, etc. Rest defines the quantity of your energy. Ninety-minute sprints allow you to focus intently, knowing you have a stopping point ahead to then rest. 7+ hours of sleep is crucial to your health. High intensity interval training (HIIT) athletes pulse between comfort and discomfort; this can be used as a strategy to improve your performance at work
- So, the problem that we face in managing our own physical energy more skillfully and with more conscientiousness is that our lives are overwhelming and there is that burning platform that we all feel to get the next thing done. And we never get enough done. You can't fundamentally take care of the elements of your life, whether it's family or work, or your community, or your church, if you're not effectively taking care of yourself.
There are four components of physical energy and they're very, very specific and concrete. There's sleep, which is the foundation of physical energy, so if you don't get enough sleep it almost doesn't matter what else you do to increase your physical energy, and then there's nutrition, and fitness, the ability to transport oxygen through your body, and finally, the one that most of us don't pay much attention to after kindergarten or nursery school, is rest. Meaning, daytime renewal, the refueling of your energy across a day.
So four components of physical energy, and if you've got those nailed, well, you're ready to rock. The problem is very, very few of us have systematically made it important to fuel each of those four energy reservoirs. Let's start with sleep. What we know about sleep is that 95% of all human beings require at least seven to eight hours of sleep in order wake up fully rested. 2.5% of the population require more than eight hours.
So, 97.5% of all human beings need at least seven hours of sleep minimum to feel fully rested. Well, think about your own life. What I've discovered and what many of the folks we work with have discovered is that if you get enough sleep, it will cover all kinds of other mistakes you make or failures you have in managing other aspects of your energy. Then, there's nutrition. Now, nutrition is a hornet's nest.
And the truth is that when all is said and done, nobody really can say with certainty what the right foods and the wrong foods are to eat, with the one exception being sugar. We know that sugar doesn't serve you well. Sugar, from an energy perspective, is something that causes, as we all know from our experience, big jumps in energy and then deep crashes in energy. Beyond that, what we are looking for when we think about nutrition is what is it that leaves you feeling sustainably energized? Then there's fitness.
Fitness can be defined as the speed of recovery. So, the fitter you are, the faster you recover. Which means that to be fit is to make recovery important. Interval training is an expression of that same notion, that intense effort and then quick recovery is training you to recover faster, and that's what fitness is all about. And finally, there's rest. So, rest is something that we haven't valued as a culture.
We don't value it in organizations, we don't value it in our lives, and we're forever willing to get up one hour earlier if we think it will allow us to get one more hour of work done, or to stay up one hour later. But the reality is that our bodies are designed to work in waves of 90 minutes. What we would say is that you ought to be, and this is called the Ultradian Rhythm, renewing or refueling yourself at least every 90 minutes.
You shouldn't work for more than 90 minutes continuously because you will suboptimal after that period. And the key to renewal is not how long you renew, but it's how well you renew. The power of renewal is not just that you feel more rested and relaxed after you do it, but it's also that when you're working, you're capable of really working. So there they are, those are the four sources of physical energy, nutrition, fitness, sleep, and rest. I've just shared with you very systematic ways that you can address the key elements of each of those four sources of energy and create a powerful foundation for yourself as you move onto managing the other three sources of energy that are critical to you.
In this course, thought leader Tony Schwartz shares his tested and unique framework for fueling productivity through energy management. He explains how to tap into your potential by regularly renewing your four core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. By learning how to more skillfully manage each dimension of energy, you can bolster your own productivity, and enhance your success as a manager by tapping into the true potential of your employees.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Learning about energy management
- Managing your physical energy to improve work performance
- Avoiding the survival zone emotionally
- Taking more control of your attention
- Finding a balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself