Our first day at work is often memorable – full of energy, enthusiasm and ambition. Sooner or later, though, monotony sets in. We feel drained. Lesser energy and negative thoughts seep in. Studies suggest that most employees start feeling disengaged after a year or two in their jobs. Reason? Lack of energy.
In The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz explain that when it comes to workplace disengagement, it’s energy that one needs to manage. 74% of employees experience a personal energy crisis and 59% are physically/ emotionally depleted, states The Energy Project. Why should companies care? Because it impacts our performance and presence at work. Thus, we need to evaluate the four sources of our energy – body, emotions, mind and spirit – and build a balanced practice of spending/ renewing them. Here’s how:
Physical energy is the foundation for managing other energies. It includes aspects of sleep, fitness, nutrition, rest and renewal by disciplined habits. And what we need to do to replenish this, is very much within our reach.
- Pay attention to your posture and breathing, and correct them if necessary.
- Maintain your body clock by sleeping and waking up at a fixed time. Better still, if you can clock 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
- Get up from your desk every 60 -90 minutes, and exercise regularly.
Emotional energy is about happiness! How you feel has a deep influence on how you as well as people around you perform. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor explains how the brain works better when a person is happy. Positive brains have a biological advantage over neutral or negative brains. Positive thinking supports brain growth, and generation of new synapses, especially in the prefrontal cortex – the integration center of all brain-mind functions.
- Be aware of your emotions and those of others.
- Appreciate things that happen in your work place.
- Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
Mental energy is about focus. Positive thinking and the physical ability to be productive, collectively generates mental energy. According to Anders Ferguson, founding partner at Veris Wealth Firm, “Mental effectiveness has two fundamental rules: focus on what you choose, and choose your distractions mindfully.” Such mindfulness is proven to improve employee health and productivity, decrease absenteeism, and enhance quality of life.
- Meditate, to clean and calm your mind. However, meditation is about compassion and collective consciousness, rather than just reducing one’s own stress and anxiety, says Tara Swart, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan Executive Education. Thus, when practiced in groups, it is possible for the practice to be more effective.
- Recognize your most productive work methods and stick to it.
- Cut off from all distraction for short intervals for concentration.
Spiritual energy is about human spirit and being connected with oneself completely. Keeping work consistent with your values and purpose of life is energizing. For example, companies like Nike, PepsiCo and Ford hold conferences on spirituality and higher power lunches, to tap into employee spirituality.
- Question yourself: What is it that really matters to you? What do you want to be remembered for?
- Perform daily acts of compassion and appreciation for people at work and personal life, as well as random acts of kindness for strangers. At your workplace, this can enhance your sense of community, thus aligning with values, says yogi Micah Mortali.
- Allocate time and energy to different areas of your personal and work life.
Wondering if these practices will prove beneficial? Ability, capacity, motivation and achievement rely on different facets of energy. One’s feelings of vigor and enthusiasm to work, depend on energies drawn from these four sources. Try it and see for yourself.