How to unleash your positive energy for optimal living
It’s good to manage your time, but what’s better is to manage your energy.
Tony Schwartz or the Energy Project once said, “Manage your energy, not your time.”
What are the factors that influence our available energy? They are the following: the amount of time we sleep, the kind of food we eat, a number of breaks we take, the people we spend time with, the things that we thing about consistently, movement (exercise), our state of emotions and purpose in life.
The reason is that people perform at their best when they’re feeling a lot of positive energy. If you manage your time, it’s possible that the time you scheduled to do something might not be an effective use of the time because you’re not feeling good or positive.
On the other hand, you might be feeling energetic in the evening and want to get some work done, but it’s not on your schedule. Your schedule says to do some light reading. But what you feel energetic at that time is to do some writing. So should you follow your schedule or where your energy leads you?
Always remember that life is a marathon and it’s not beneficial for you to burn out in life. You should be blazing a path to success, not burning out on the journey.
Seek to thrive, not just exist.
Instead of making to-do-lists, develop a core set of habits that revolve around your most important work. This is what energy management is all about.
This article will help you manage your energy, instead of time, to create an optimal life.
1. The Basics
This means you should avoid skipping breakfast and eating healthy food. Lessen your sugar intake and go for foods that are rich in real energy like potatoes and eggs.
Keep healthy food in your fridge and cupboard so that they are the food you see when you feel hungry. In that way, you have no choice but to eat well. You might also develop a good habit here of eating healthily.
When you eat, just eat. Avoid multitasking at this time. Being mindful and focusing on the task at hand will boost your attention power and mental energy.
Keep hydrated. Drink water consistently throughout the day so that your mind doesn’t get depleted of energy.
This is an easy way to have good energy throughout the day. Bring a water bottle with wherever you go so that you can take regular sips of water to avoid getting dehydrated.
Sleep is the best way to maintain strong energy for the next day. Plus, you avoid waking up cranky and having negative energy which destroys your productivity and mindset for effective work.
Try to establish a good routine before going to bed. This means no more fiddling with your gadget as it interferes with your sleep routines. Also, you should be in a relaxed state of mind. Meditation would be perfect before going to bed.
3. Take regular breaks
Take a 5-minute break every hour. You can take a walk or have a chat with someone at this time. This gives the brain a quick recharge moment.
Naps are also great, especially after lunch. Our body is wired to feel sleepy between 1 pm to 3 pm. So take a power nap at that period so that you can replenish your energy for the rest of the day.
Don’t see downtime as a waste of time. Remember that you are managing your energy, not the time. So insert in your calendar reminders for you to take a break regularly.
Daily exercise will give you regular doses of dopamine and will put you in a good mood. Many runners get the “runner’s high.” That’s why the make sure they have a good run daily.
Exercise also clears your mind of negative feelings and energy. This is important because you need positive energy that you can harness so you can be effective and productive.
5. Limit access to technology
Too much email, social media and surfing online is not good for your health. Detach and limit your time on it. Studies show that you can absorb negative energy from your news feed or if your peers online are enjoying and having a blast in a holiday, you might feel jealous and get negative energy as a result.
For example, you can decide just to check email twice a day. Once after lunch and once before leaving the office.
Same thing with social media. You can choose to just check Facebook or Twitter twice a day at 15 minutes each.
Science has proven the benefits of daily meditation. It calms the mind, and your breathing becomes deep and slower which brings more oxygen to your brain so you can think more clearly and effectively.
So start building the habit of meditating. Start with one minute and then progress longer once the one-minute duration becomes too easy for you.
7. Make fewer decisions
Seek to simplify things. Declutter. Lessen your wardrobe. Figure out what you’ll wear daily. Limit the options.
By making fewer decisions, you waste less physical and mental energy. So think ahead so that you can conserve the precious energy for things that matter and give the most impact in your life.
8. Keep your workspace organized
A messy and disorganized place can build negative emotions in your mind. You’ll feel disorganized and uneasy as you work.
So look to have a minimalist workspace so that you can think clearly and have fewer distractions as you look to get into a flow state and get a good dose of positive energy.
How to defuse negative energy
An easy way to defuse negative energy and emotions is to do deep abdominal breathing. Exhaling slowly for 5 to 6 seconds can induce relaxation and recovery.
Get relief through deep inhalation and exhalation.
Change the narrative
Another way to cultivate positive energy is to change the stories you tell yourself about events in your life. Tell stories of hope. Focus on the good side. Stop telling stories that you’re a victim of circumstances.
You are in charge of your life, and therefore you can make the necessary changes to make things work.
Use the growth mindset to become resilient and persevere despite the challenges and difficulties you encounter in your life.
Be a learner and learn from your mistakes. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and continue living in the past.
By changing the narrative, you’ll be able to create positive energy that will help you perform better in life.
If you don’t like your occupation, do something about it. If not, try to change the narrative. Create a more positive and empowering story about your role.
Find out how your work makes a difference in others. This change in the story can help you do better at work and snowball to a better career experience.
Eat your frogs
Do the most important tasks, a.k.a. Frogs, first in the day. In this way, you prioritize things and get those that give the most results first. This will boost your confidence and give you a sense of fulfillment and thus create positive energy that you can leverage for the rest of the day.
Live your core values daily
To maintain positive energy in your life, you need to allocate time to the things that matter to you the most, e.g. your family, and health.
So make sure you plan out your day and give time to things that bring meaning and joy to your life. If you’re always working and approaching burnout, you’ll get negative energy, and your life won’t be optimal.
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Leverage your strengths
We all love doing what we’re good at. We feel good about it, and it gives us strong doses of positive energy.
So integrate into your routines opportunities to use your strengths.
In your career, look for projects that you can excel in. Join events or causes where you can be a good fit.
If you’re in a job that doesn’t leverage your strengths, see if there is a way to change your work that will allow you to use your strengths. If not, perhaps it’s time to leave it. Life is too short always to feel inadequate and not excelling in something.
Figure out what drains you and what sustains you
Here’s a task you can do. For a week, journal out every task you do and then write how you feel doing the task. With this exercise, you’ll be able to identify activities that drain you and activities that put you into a state of flow and boosts your happiness.
For the activities that drain you, you can look to outsource them, delegate or even eliminate completely if possible.
For the activities that sustain you, look to increase the duration or frequency of those activities.
The idea is to do more that gives you positive energy and less of what drains you. Design your life in a manner that works for you and unleashes positive energy.
Instead of making a to-do-list, look to make a list of positive energy tasks that you should attempt to do as much as you can daily.
Live an authentic life. If you pretend to be someone you’re not at, that takes a lot of energy out of you, and you’ll find yourself filled with negative emotions shortly.
So be who you are. The world needs people who are alive and authentic.
Being authentic also helps you become likable to others.
So look to audit your life so that you can be authentic in thoughts, words, and actions. A life that is consistent with your values and beliefs will help you live an optimal life.
Find your “why” in your work and life, and you will be able to live with authenticity and positive energy. It will also allow you to persevere towards the achievement of your life purpose.
Working more is never the answer to living an optimal life. Look to automate, simplify, and make things at work more efficient.
Working overtime won’t boost your output and efficiency. You’ll end up with fewer brain cells and makes you stupid as a result. You’ll be clumsier, forgetful and less attentive the following day.
If you can afford to hire a virtual assistant to help you with lower value tasks and tasks that do not sustain you, do it because, in the long run, you’ll be more successful and have more time and freedom to do things that sustain you.
Stop multitasking. Focus on a task and get it done. Through focusing, you develop momentum and put you into a state of flow.
Switch off the email or phone notifications that can distract you and destroy your momentum and flow. You can even close your internet connection so that you don’t get tempted to check your email or surf mindlessly online.
All of these distractions take a toll on your mind and lessen your positive energy which is a limited resource.
If you multitask, it depletes your mental energy as you switch from one task to the next.
Always remember that mental energy is a very strong energy. If you have a positive mental state, your body will react accordingly. The mind-body connection is very strong.
Develop a reading habit to boost positive energy
Successful people who live optimal lives almost always have a reading habit. This is one of the best habits that you can cultivate.
For one, if you read fiction books, you leave the real world for a while and go to this wonderful, enchanting world the author has developed. This refreshes your mind, and your imagination and creativity are triggered which gives you a boost of positive energy.
Reading books also boosts your empathy which allows you to make stronger connections to your friends, family, and colleagues. All these strong relationships will further boost your positive emotions to allow you to live an optimal life.
Learning also boosts your knowledge and gives you a sense of progress and fulfillment in life. This will boost positive energy in your life so that your life can be optimal.
Be strategic during low-energy moments
When you’re feeling drowsy, for example, after lunch, you can try to do things that don’t require too much energy.
For example, you can do your filing or admin tasks during these ungodly hours. In this way, you remain productive, but you didn’t expend so much energy.
You can also do your chores during the times in the evening when your energy is lower.
The point is to do things that are challenging and very important when your energy is at its most and to do the unavoidable low-value tasks when your energy is depleted.
You can also use these lull moments to exercise, or any activity that can boost your energy.
Avoid emotional vampires in your life
Stay away and keep a distance from negative people. These are the people who just complain and rant about their sufferings and everything that is going wrong in their lives.
If you listen to them, you get drained because you’re absorbing their negative energy.
So if a conversation starts to become too negative or you start to feel anxious, worried, sad, and other negative emotions, it’s time to walk away from it.
You might choose not to unfriend them online but at least stop following them or that their negativity does not show up on your feed when you check your social media accounts.
Don’t live according to the calendar. For example, if you woke up at 2 am and can’t get back to sleep, don’t force yourself. Find something to do instead that will meet your current level.
Or even better, do something that can help generate more positive energy.
The idea is you learn to work with the ebbs of your energy.
For example, if during the time you allotted for your exercise is a time you feel some negative energy, maybe you can take a nap instead and exercise later when you have a bit more energy. Or maybe you just need to grab a bite so that you can have a boost in positive energy.
A lot of success and motivation articles preach the need to be up at 4 a.m. so that you can be successful. That works only if you’re a morning person.
But if you’re more energetic and inclined to wake up at 7 a.m. then do what works for you. The articles you read online work for the author. It’s up for you to try them and adopt what works for you.
If your peak hours are in the evening, then do the most challenging work at that time.
If you’re a night owl and you like doing creative work at that time because it’s quiet and you feel very relaxed, then adjust your schedule accordingly.
The key is understanding your body clock and designing your life according to it.
If you’re not meant for a regular 9–5 job, then be a freelancer so that you can organize your life according to how your body works.
Live according to how your mind, body and spirit work. Don’t let others dictate otherwise.
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