History of the Work Day:
I often ponder who the knucklehead was that designed the 8-10 hour work day? So, I did a little research to see how this all came about. It turns out that I need to thank the gentleman, Robert Owen, for putting the 8 hour work day into effect. Did you know that the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760) started the per capita economic (GDP) growth in capitalist economies. With the revolution came 10-16 hour work days.
It wasn’t until 1817 that Robert Owen, a social reformer, developed the 8 hour day. He believed your day should be made up of 8 + 8 + 8 = 24. The 8 hours should be equally labor, recreation, and rest.
However, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a law in the United States. Economically speaking the tides of change are taking 150+ years to evolve.
While all of this is great, I would argue that it isn’t the amount of hours dedicated to doing any of those 3 components that matter, but rather the level of engagement have with them. What good is 8 hours of sleep if it’s restless or what good is putting in 8 hours on the time clock of you are a zombie while you are there. It’s the energy that you bring to that time that matters most.
“Energy and persistence conquer all things” – Benjamin Franklin
My hope is that with more sophisticated understandings of how the body & mind work, that it won’t take us another 150 years to shift the pendulum even further and begin to understand that we are not designed to work efficiently for more than a couple of hours at a time without infusing a nutritional and physical recovery into the equation.
Energy is a cycle and part of that cycle requires re-charging to operate as a high performer.
“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results” – Tony Robbins
If you think about it you likely aren’t poor at time management, you’re poor at energy management, which leads you to be poor at time management. Here are the differences between the two:
Time Management = Linear and it’s about organizing and prioritizing
Energy Management = Cyclical balance, engagement, and recovery
Managing your energy takes understanding your body, your recovery, and your nutrition. Some people can do this just fine on their own and recognize when “recovery” is needed versus nutrition, while others believe this is a wacky experiment that should be left up to professionals to figure out. The good news is that many of them exist out there to help you with all aspects of your waining energy.
Ultimately, if you want to be more productive, you will have to make changes in your lifestyle and you may have to be quite bold in the approach, depending upon how revolutionary your current work environment and/or boss is in their support of you.
“The heroic journey begins when we decide to actively engage with the living experience. It is about finding out how your whole body whole life approach can work for you” – HeroicsUSA
Instead of sharing the top 10 ways you can improve your energy, I thought it best for you to hear from a cross section of the most energized and high performing individuals that I know who are also just ordinary people working in extraordinary ways to manage their energy.
Pro Athlete Perspective:
“Sustaining energy for my race events starts with my everyday nutrition and recovery routine. Adequate sleep, staying hydrated and keeping my daily meals low glycemic provides energy that doesn’t hit highs and lows. So heading into race day my tank is full, then I add a steady flow of higher glycemic sugars to give me a boost during the event. ” – Shonny Vanlandingham
Global CEO Perspective:
“You are absolutely correct that there is a vast amount of difference between the “time” someone puts into work [or other] and the “energy” that someone puts in. Time does not equate to performance….energy does [note: this does not mean time for training and preparation].
The two biggest words for me are Passion and Focus.
Someone has to be passionate about what they are doing ….and if they are not…then change.
Once the passion is locked, then the focus needs to be locked. Laser focus on results or singular objectives generate far greater results then scattered vision. I met with someone recently who wanted to get into a new entrepreneurial business and he showed me four very different new business concepts. I asked him where his focus was and he did not have an answer.
So…back to energy and energizing one’s self for job performance. If you consider the two points above….and if someone latches on to these…then they will feel their performance improve…and that creates more energy. Energy needed to start. The….Performance increases energy which increases performance which increases energy which….
The last part is the easy part because its the physical. Figure out how your body works and take care of it. A person does not need to be a Mark Allen or Shonny Vanlandingham, but a person needs to know as much about their body as those two people.
I read a great saying on the opening page of a book…..”if you don’t have 30 minutes a day to take care of your body then don’t buy this book” [Fit for Life by Bill Phillips]. Healthier and fitter body makes the brain more productive….and its the brain that is the engine of all we do. Nothing mystical about it….that’s just the way it is.” – Tom Kiely, CEO, XTERRA
Mom & Entrepreneur Perspective:
“I’d say my secret “sauce” is overall nutrition and an occasional (gasp) NAP! I’m often up during the night or very early morning with the babies and if I don’t recuperate that missed sleep, I would burnout over time. If I miss sleep one night, I try to take a very short nap in the afternoon to make up for it and give me that powerboost I need. I also try to eat healthy and put fresh, organic “fuel” foods in to my body. I substitute afternoon snacks (in the past a soda or cookie) for Gouter tonics now and have noticed these give me a nice burst of energy to make it through the rest of my day!” – Melanie Coburn, Chief Relationship Officer, CadreDC
“I think the real key to life as a mom, athlete and teacher lies in finding balance. Finding that balance between taking care of yourself, your children and work can be challenging, however, I find that when I am physically healthy, my emotional and psychological health are in line as well. I also believe that women have a tendency to put everyone else’s needs before their own, which often results in putting aside time for ourselves. I would stress never feeling guilty about putting yourself first and finding time to take care of you. You are much more useful to your family and job when you are happy and healthy!!” – Kris Mihalic, Teacher/Mom/Athlete
No matter which type of coach you need in your life to help you gain greater energy, find one. For some of us it’s as simple as beginning to exercise, while others need a nutritionist, personal trainer, a life coach, or an accountability coach to even get started. Believe in your ability to manage time by first backing it up to managing your energy.
For additional information, references, or referrals on this topic, please contact me at Victoria@VPStrategies.com
*Thank you to my friends for their contributions and for constantly keeping me energized! (Titus, Kris, Melanie, Tom, and Shonny…you are heroic every day)