Episode 289 Optimising Your Energy: Strategies for Sustainable Productivity

Optimising your energy

Explore how optimising your energy can help you boost productivity and wellbeing through rituals, recovery, and resilience.

In this week’s episode, Anna dives into the vital topic of managing energy. Following last week’s exploration of time management, today’s discussion extends to this second critical resource that shapes our productivity and success. Anna highlights the importance of maintaining optimal energy levels amidst the relentless demands of modern life. She emphasises the necessity of recovery and rest, sharing personal insights and expert strategies for sustaining wellbeing and performance over the long term. Whether it’s refining our daily routines, integrating rest, or building resilience, this episode equips us with practical advice to manage our energy more effectively. Stay tuned as we uncover the three Rs — rituals, recovery, and resilience — that can help optimise your energy and maximise your potential.

00:00 Recognise importance of rest and recovery daily.

03:22 Tailored holistic energy management for productivity improvement.

06:48 Maintaining energy and optimism in adversity is key.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*
1:1 Coaching & Mentoring – If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. www.onestepoutside.com/coaching

Optimising your energy

We talked about time management last week and now we’re talking about energy management this week. So this is the triad of three very limited resources that we need to channel towards what matters most in order to be sustainably productive, but also, most importantly, to achieve what we want to achieve. And so those three things are time, energy and attention. And again today we’re looking at energy. And the truth is, it’s quite a challenge to maintain high energy levels consistently. And unfortunately, the demands of modern life leave us feeling more drained than ever. I hold my hand up here.

Feeling pretty depleted at the end of the day, and it can feel like an impossible task to sustain those high levels, or at least the optimal energy levels, throughout the day. And whether it’s the pressures of those endless, relentless meetings in the office, emails that are even more relentless, getting those deadlines, managing personal commitments and so on and so on, that relentless pace can take its toll. And so we really need to recognise the importance of recovery, first of all, and so many studies now show how vital rest and recovery is as vital, if not more important, than hustling away and pushing forwards. In fact, as an aside, I’ve been having issues with my hip. It turns out to be my TfL. No, it’s not transport for London. For those of you in the know, it’s tendon on my hip that’s been overworked over a period of many years from my running. And it turns out that the experts now say that not only should we be doing the running, so the exercise, the cardio, whatever you want to call it, the strength training, which I do, but we also need to be doing at least 25% of flexibility and the recovery period.

And that’s the point I’m getting at after, say, a long run is as important. I can’t go for a long run. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, as they so kindly pointed out to me, I can’t go for a long run and then do a big leg session the next day at the gym and so on. Right? So I need to do some pilates, need to do some stretching and so on. So that’s really, really important. So athletes know that athletes understand the necessity of rest and recovery to perform at their best, but so too must we prioritise activities that then also replenish our energy reserves. So it could be something as simple as getting enough sleep, doing exercise regularly or just taking breaks throughout the day. But those moments of respite are so, so crucial for recharging our batteries and enabling us to operate at that kind of peak performance.

If we don’t recover adequately, then we’re going to risk again, not just diminished productivity, but potential burnout. And ultimately we’re going to be undermining our long term success and well being. So, yes, we might achieve the thing in the short term, but it’s not going to be sustainable for the longer term. And of course, it’s really individual as you look for and find what works best for you when it comes to managing your energy. Some people might really thrive on rigorous exercise routines and strict dietary regimens. Others might prefer more kind of mindfulness practises or creative pursuits to recharge their energy levels. And so try to experiment with different strategies. Listen to your body’s signals and look for the activities and habits that are going to support your energy and vitality.

It’s very, very personal, but overall, we want to be looking at this more. I always hesitate to use this word, but holistic approach to energy management that’s really tailored to your unique needs and preferences so that we can be more resilient, be more focused and be more productive in all areas of our life. And as I did last week for the time management piece, I want to give you three key strategies to think about when it comes to optimising your energy and maximising your performance. So last week it was time management and I talked about blocks, balance and boundaries. And this week I’ve got three R’s for you just to mix things up a bit. So the first one is rituals. Sounds interesting, I hope, but I’m not talking about religious rituals or pagan rituals from my scandi past, but I’m talking about developing a kind of rhythm, really, habits that can provide structure and consistency to your daily routine. So that will really help you to not have to rely on sheer willpower or discipline in the moment.

If you have a routine that you follow, think of sort of Steve Jobs, black turtleneck jump or whatever, that’s the kind of thing we’re looking at. But I haven’t managed to do that with fashion. But when it comes to having a kind of morning meditation that starts the know, whenever you go for a coffee, then you also do some stretching. I go for a walk just before lunch, winding down with like a chamomile tea in the evening, whatever that looks like. These practises that need to be really intentional and habitual ideally can help you manage your energy more effectively throughout the day. So insofar as you can kind of create those routines and rituals and habits, that’s going to again create that structure and consistency that will support your energy management. And of course, that will help you to get into that kind of rhythm and not to over exert yourself, but also still to achieve your goals. So that’s the first one for you rituals.

The second one is recovery, and we just talked about that. But prioritising rest and recovery as essential components of your energy management strategy is just the be all and end all. That is the foundation of everything else. We have to, have to, have to recognise the importance of taking breaks, though many of us don’t do it because we just kind of plough through. Oh, I’m on a roll. Just keep going. It’s not effective prioritising the sleep if we don’t have control over when we wake up. Thanks, little kitties.

Then go to bed earlier. I’m pretty boring these days. I go to bed very early and it works for me. And allowing yourself time to recharge mentally and physically. So really having that boundary at the end of the day, shutting down your computer, in my case, not thinking that I can do lots of extra work because I’m just tired and I need to enjoy myself. I need to have time with my family and go to bed early. So I think there’s a misconception that productivity requires that kind of hustle, always on mentality, and that’s completely false. It’s a complete misconception, actually.

Rest, relaxation, recuperation. Recovery drives far better results because it fosters mental clarity. We’ll be more creative and we’ll be more resilient, not to mention we’ll feel better and enjoy ourselves. And that’s pretty important, too. So recovery, so, so important. Just like I was saying about my hip and my runs, we need to recover, as athletes have always understood. And then finally, resilience. I’ve talked about this a lot, but it’s really a cornerstone of effective energy management.

It helps us to maintain our energy and vitality, I suppose is a good word in the face of adversity and uncertainty and inevitable dips. Right. It does require or involve having quite an optimistic mindset. So there’s a quote from Helen Keller. She talks about the optimism and faith and hope being really, really key. It’s not about naivety and being unrealistic, but having that optimism that things will work out is really important. Allows you to look beyond the immediate setback and look at the bigger picture and then having the growth focused mindset that Carol Dweck talks about. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, in her TED talk, this idea of a growth mindset that you can embrace challenges, you can learn from them, you can grow, rather than seeing everything as like, oh, this has happened to me and it’s never going to work and, oh, it’s just too hard, and so on.

Prioritising self care. I know, hashtag self care, it’s such an overdone word, but so, so important, really taking care of ourselves so that we can be more energetic and resilient in the face of those inevitable setbacks. And importantly, creating a support structure. So whether it’s mentors or a coach or a therapist or friends or colleagues or a community, a partner and so on, to help us better navigate those challenges and bounce back from setbacks. So those are the three strategies, three areas to look at today for managing your energy rituals. So having those habits and routines, to have that regular rhythm and not have to rely on willpower and discipline. In my experience, an element of structure is what gives you freedom. Secondly, recovery.

So prioritising rest, recovery, recuperation, and then finally, resilience. And it’s quite a complex term, lots of things involved in that concept, but really looking at optimism, that growth mindset, taking care of yourself and having the support structure in place. My biggest tip through all this is going to bed early. There you go. So sleep, as we all know, as parents of kids who don’t sleep very well, or as people who have had insomnia for any reason, anxiety, just not slept very well. It is so debilitating to not sleep. And so if there’s one thing we can do, I think to manage our energy better, it’s to rest more and to sleep. So next time we’ll be looking at managing attention.

And that’s the final piece of this puzzle. The time that we looked at last week, energy today and managing retention. So I’ll see you then. Bye for now.


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