If life is a sprint and not a marathon why do we place so much emphasis on managing our time? Managing energy rather than time is actually the key to working smarter and living a more fulfilled life.
Personal energy includes four primary sources; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Physically we need exercise, good nutrition, and sufficient sleep. Emotionally we need to transform the threats we feel into opportunities and challenges. Mentally we need to take hold of our thoughts and focus on what is important and moves us ahead, while letting go of the things that hold us back and keep us stuck. Spiritually we need to trust our intuition better so we can make quicker decisions, as well as, listen to our conscience and make morally good choices. Spiritually we also need to believe in a power greater than ourselves otherwise we will forever make the mistake of serving ourselves.
When we try to separate these four sources and work on only one or two we deny who we are as human beings. We can’t divide ourselves up and work only on the areas that are comfortable for us or that most appeal to our psyche. It’s like trying to bake a cake and leaving out the flour because you think flour tastes bad. When flour is added to other ingredients and cooked it’s a beautiful thing. And when we work on the “whole” person and seek to keep ALL four areas healthy; that is power, and increased power results in improved performance.
Without a big “why” driving what you do in life, having physical energy is pointless. And lots of physical energy with no reason for your existence leads to nowhere, just like a clear purpose without physical energy prevents activity from happening. Breaking your day up into 90-minute “sprints” which are punctuated by 15-minute breaks serves to re-energize and re-vitalize your efforts.
Sprints include the physical and spiritual areas where you are exercising, eating, resting, as well as, staying on the right path, making good moral decisions, and communicating with your higher power. While breaks include emotional and mental areas where you are keeping your thoughts and feelings in check, so you don’t wreck yourself and hinder your physical and spiritual progress. The emotional and mental side is really the glue that holds the physical and spiritual side together because ultimately you will become what you think you feel.
As we work on changing our habits in these areas, our productivity will increase. Develop a game plan for your overall life performance by identifying your big purpose. With that distinguish what larger habits need to occur and then begin to connect those with the smaller habits to make it all happen. Starting out maybe your big purpose is actually small, that’s ok at least your moving forward. Start small and work forward from there if needed.
The key to challenging and stretching your energy limits is to expand your energy capacity, and to recover afterwards before the next challenge.