Work Life Harmony: Why do you Need to Manage your Energy and Not Just your Time?
In today’s busy life, we all strive to live stress-free with more energy and time to accomplish a lot. However, let’s face it: who would not want a great balance between work and life, by having an optimal amount of energy for great work, health and wellbeing? The reality is, most of the ‘time-management’ habits that have been developed in the name of “saving time,” have led us to drain more energy, waste time, and be under loads of stress. Hence, we feel exhausted, drained, and we lack the right energy to keep on going.
Energy is the vital resource needed for an effective quality of Work Life Harmony. Energy is manifested through four interlinked dimensions: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual.
The Physical Energy: Is the capacity to perform daily life and work tasks. This energy is fueled through and by a good quality of sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Any compromise to recharge by missing out on good nutrition, sleep, and exercise depletes one’s energy levels, and affects the ability to cope with the emotions and to maintain the required focus.
The Emotional Energy: regardless of the different pressures that people face in their daily life, they must continue to develop the quality of their energy: to become more aware of their emotions at different times and its consequences on their work and life. It is empirical that most people perform much better when they are “Happy”: Positive Emotional Energy; whereas they perform lower when they are “unhappy”: Negative Emotional Energy. A lack of sustainability of Positive Emotional Energy leads to inadequate thinking and logic. Therefore, people must identify those emotional zappers in order to take charge of their responses.
The Mental Energy: Focus, attention, learning agility and reflections, all require ample mental energy. Limited Mental Energy constraints one’s ability to effectively improve their productivity at work and in life.
The Spiritual Energy: meaning and purpose are powerful sources of energy, which most people nowadays tend to ignore due to great workloads and high-speed work cycles. Once they start to pay attention to the sense of value and principle-centricity and to tap into their inner beliefs, they can become more effective and gratified at work and in life.
How to recharge your energy?
The “80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch consists of how performing 20% of tasks results in 80% of people’s happiness. However, this idea of 80/20 can be changed depending on your needs. You start by recognizing the 20% of tasks that bring you the best results for different aspects of your work and life. And try to perform more of these tasks to improve the quality of your happiness. Always re-assess the distribution of tasks and happiness to evaluate your current situation. This principle does not mean that you have to be happy at 80% or less or more as long as you pay attention to the times of your good mood in order to make it easier to overcome difficulties that you may face in life.
Work on what you are good at, as it renews your energy level. That feeling of fulfillment will provide you of self-confidence and self-motivation to complete your tasks effectively. You first need to discover your strengths, and develop a ritual to apply them throughout your day. Based on a past experience where you felt effective and inspired, ask yourself what talents and skills did I use or discover? These strengths directly impact your work life harmony if practiced daily.
Knowing your values and aligning your behavior to them replenishes your energy. It is only when your values are clear to you that, deciding and adopting new behaviors become easier. A good starting point is to first unveil them by reflecting on the values you appreciate and or dislike most in others. Then question yourself on the behaviors and rituals you will adopt to align yourself to these unveiled values.
Time Management is directly linked to your level of energy and work life harmony. How you prioritize your activities and allocate time accordingly is fundamental to your energy level. In our previous article “Work Life Harmony and Time Management…how does it impact you?” key aspects on the matter are covered along with numerous helpful tools.
Manage your negative emotions because they affect your decision-making, your relationships and deplete your energy. The first step is to gain self-awareness of this negative emotion and then to frame it by separating the facts from that emotion. Also, practicing slow breathing exercises, diffusing positive energy by giving recognition towards yourself and others comes in very handy. When you feel calmer, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself in what way can he / she be right?
Learn, listen and acquire knowledge in order to update your skills, to adapt to change, and to keep an active mind fuels your positive energy. Humans have an immense capacity to learn, to listen and an immense capacity to absorb, self develop, and glow. Carry on your pursuit of knowledge and ask yourself what skill / topic do I wish to learn? What sources of information do I have access to? Discussions, reading articles and books, studying are all a good start. Leonardo Da Vinci says it best: “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
Eliminate toxic people because they drain your energy. Your social life is a great source of energy, since it is where we receive empathy and therefore recognition. As emotions are contagious when expressed strongly and frequently, wisely select the entourage you interact with as some people’s emotions drain your energy level while others recharge it. Ask yourself if you felt positive or negative after certain encounters and why? This will allow you to know what types of limits you must establish in order to preserve and renew your energy.
At the end of the day, you have to take charge of your own energy in order to reach your desired Work Life Harmony. Managing your energy is a personal commitment, which doesn’t only take place within your reflection process, but also by changing your actions. By taking charge of your energy, you commit to a process of change by planning it and practicing it within your daily routine.
So for change to happen, what is your next step to recharge your energy and reach your own Work Life Harmony?
Shermeen Zeidan, Certified Master Coach and Rita Farah, Professional Coach