How to balance your energy? Being hot and staying cold.

After nearly three years building Geeksters with my partner Kamel, I spent a lot of time working with developers, clients, designers, partners and people in general.

I was in hot mode all the time. Most of the pressure came from client expectations, feedbacks and all tasks related to project management in general.

Being hot all the time is not desirable. That’s why I deeply ask myself how to balance my energy to optimise my productivity and accomplish great things in a long run.

Those are quick thoughts about how I want to balance my energy at work.

Communication should be cold

I spent a week in New York recently working as technical support for one of our client during a 3 days event (FIFA Interactive World Cup). I had the chance to work with a small and dynamic team and I learnt a lot.

During a big event like this, you need to get things done and coordinate people. You don’t need to put feelings in the way you communicate with others. This can sound ridiculous from an american or “Anglo-Saxon” perspective but I’m both french and spanish (worst mix on earth) and latin people tend to put so much feelings in the way they talk. In addition, I’m a very empathic person and I can guess or feel what others feel naturally: that’s a gift and a poison.

If someone is hard on me, I tend to deeply feel this pressure and I shouldn’t. Being hot means taking things personally and not being able to distanciate yourself from simple facts. If something is wrong in an event or a project, you should just take it as an information. Then you process the information and find a solution. You need to keep cold. Being cold is not about not being involved: it’s about taking facts as information and not as judgements. That’s what I learnt from american people. We were sending short messages like “Can you send me that at 2 pm”, “Yes”, or “No, but 7pm should work”. Etc. There were no “bad” situation. Simply facts that you should adapt to.

Communication should be a no brainer. This should not take energy. You need to keep this energy in finding solutions but without pressure. Pressure won’t make you productive but reactive. Which is very different.

I’m changing the way I communicate. Even when things don’t go as expected, you need to say it in short pieces, as soon as possible, so people around you can adapt their work quickly. It really makes a difference because you don’t feel the pressure, you “dispatch” this pressure immediately to others in an efficient way. That doesn’t mean I’m not involved. It’s not forwarding bad stuff to others but at least people are aware of your situation. It’s information, not judgment.

Hard tasks should be hot

By hard tasks I mean something strategically important for you and the company. These tasks require a very high level of energy and focus. Programming is in this category. I want to be hot when I code. Having great ideas on how to structure my projects, picking the best framework/language/technology, etc. Teaching other members in the team is a hot task as well. You want to share your passion and you need energy to forward this correctly. Thinking on your next project should be hot. Doing the design of your next office should be hot. Hiring the greatest people should be hot. And I can go on and on.

You should keep your energy for tasks that make a difference. Everyday management is important but should not drain down your energy.

It’s about energy

I think we live in a world where energy is the most valuable asset. The 20th century was about optimising time. But time is not relevant without power. You can accomplish 3x more tasks in the same period of time if you have the right energy at the right moment.

Why is everyone trying to get in shape, reducing meat consumption, meditating, running, having more free time, and surrounding themselves with the best people? Because we want to keep this energy to level up our vision of the future and make big and bold moves.