I’ve been interested in increasing productivity and self-performance for a long time. I’ve always tried to organize my work and manage my time in order to be more productive.
There was a period in my life when I was obsessed with time. I tried to save every minute whenever it was possible. I tried to respond to emails while eating breakfast and sleep one hour less, just so that I could squeeze in one more hour of work. I was burnt out, unhappy, disappointed and still didn’t really know where all the time went. I was doing it all wrong.
Then, I found a book that has changed my life: The Power of Full Engagement. Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. As the title suggests, managing energy is the key to high self-performance. Good time management and self-discipline is crucial but your energy is the base of everything.
You may have the best car in the world but it won’t run without fuel.
I found out that what really makes me productive is: MOTIVATION + ENERGY. First, I need to be strongly motivated to do something and then I need a lot of energy to move forward and accomplish that goal.
In this blog post, I’d like to focus on energy, which you may have never even considered before.
According to Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (the authors of The Power of Full Engagement), to be fully engaged, we need four separate but related sources of energy:
- Physical: sleep, exercise, diet, etc.;
- Emotional: enjoyment, trust, patience, self-confidence, openness;
- Mental: positive attitude, positive self-talk, focus, creativity;
- Spiritual: honesty, courage, integrity, service to others, passion;
When we talk about energy, we usually think about our physical energy and we forget about other sources, which are also very important.
Let me go through a few changes I made in my life that are not really directly connected with work but in a magical way helped me to be more productive in my regular job and do many other things on the side.
I quit freelancing and started blogging
When I started working full time at Copyblogger Media, freelancing on the side became a big problem for me. I was too tired to do more creative work after hours. I was stressed about the projects that I still had to do and I was afraid I would disappoint some of my clients.
That’s why I simply gave up freelancing and spent my time after hours on my personal website which led me to finally start my blog. Running the blog helped me to switch gears and do something different than I do in my regular job. I found writing posts to be very relaxing and having a small community around my own site is a great feeling.
Even after a long day of work I still have some energy to write a new blog post.
I traded running for playing soccer
I hate jogging. I really wanted to start running regularly to improve my fitness. I tried a few times but I always gave up because I never liked doing it. I didn’t make any progress and I found millions of excuses to skip my training.
So, instead of trying again and again I started playing soccer. I used to play soccer a lot in a school and, believe me, there is a lot of running during a typical 1.5-hour game. I never tried to skip my soccer games because I simply love doing it. I can’t wait for another game which comes with a built-in workout session.
When I incorporated an enjoyable exercise into my weekly routine, the positive energy seemed to flow from within. Try it and see if you can also create some positive energy in your life!
I started doing what I always wanted to do
I always wanted to start training in martial arts. I found Krav Maga, which is a connection of self-defense and real life street fighting. Besides the technique, this is a great workout that helps me to reduce stress, build my self-confidence and be someone else for an hour at the gym.
Do you think you have no time for this? You just need to trade your time and skip something less important. I need only 2-3 hours during the week for my Krav Maga training.
I take one class on Saturday/Sunday, which requires me to wake up one hour earlier than usual, and commit to one afternoon during the week. Does it sound impossible? I don’t think so.
Once again, pairing up a physical workout with enjoyment created a new passion that contributed to building my self-esteem.
In summary, remove or minimize activities in your life that you don’t like doing. If there are some necessary benefits from it, try to trade it for something else that you would enjoy more.
Think about something you’ve always wanted to do but always had a million excuses as to why you couldn’t do it. No more excuses — start doing it as soon as you can!
Surround yourself with positive energy and in a very short time you’ll become much more productive, efficient, creative, and fully motivated to do more at your regular job and in your life.
I truly recommend reading The Power of Full Engagement. It’ll open your eyes but you’ll have to take care of the rest.
I’d like to hear your personal stories. Have you had similar experiences you would like to share?