How to Work With Your Energy Ebbs and Flows

Lack of Energy Got You Down

One of the things I find myself discussing an awful lot at work is productivity.  The thing is, for the past ten years, I have consistently been more productive than my entire team combined!  In conversations with our team lead and our manager, I find myself scratching my head right along with them asking how is it that this is possible?  What is everybody else doing?  Why am I so different?

2017 Project Stats
2017 Project Stats

This chart shows a project my team was working last year and the final stats of what each person accomplished.  Of course, I redacted the names of my team members so as not to completely humiliate them.  Last year, we had a team of 9 plus we were given three additional people to get this project done.  I did more than the other 11 of them combined.  I created 3,251 knowledge articles compared to the 3,107 all of the rest of them did combined.  So…how did I do so much more?


Change Your Mindset

Mindset is absolutely the key to getting more done and being more productive.  The only chance we have of completing challenges and getting to where we want to be is if we’re able to focus on our goals and stay motivated enough to take the necessary steps to accomplish them, right?

Copyright: bloomua / 123RF Stock Photo
Productivity Time!

But if you’re anything like me, you often find yourself fighting off your impulses.  We have to force ourselves to get up and work, even when we’re feeling tired and just want to go back to bed.

We have to motivate ourselves to focus on a long, hard day’s work even when we’re tempted to go home early and watch YouTube videos until the end of eternity!

This is what many of us think of as mental discipline.  Mental discipline is the ability to force ourselves to do that which we don’t want to do.  To take our medicine, as it were, and thereby keep progressing forward.

But force might not actually be the best method, in fact, I know it’s not the best method!

As it happens, being at constant war with yourself is most certainly not conducive to great productivity!

So instead of using force, how about working with your gut instead?


Understanding Your Energy Flow

I actually run these projects that my team is working on each year as a major effort to make the most of our company’s knowledge base.  When scheduling the work, I set deadlines to keep the team moving in the right direction.  I ensure that we each have plenty of time to accomplish what’s assigned to us.  A lot of people pay too much attention to time management.  We act under the assumption that if we have time to do something, then we can do it.

But in reality, our ability to complete our work is much more related to our energy levels.  If you don’t have the energy needed to focus on the work, then you won’t be able to complete the work.  If you do complete it, the quality of work may suffer.  I do five times that of my peers on a daily basis…and have for over ten years.

2018 Project Stats

I produce more in both volume and quality.  How can I do this?  Because I have learned how to focus my energy, they haven’t.  Each of us are consistently pulled in different directions throughout the day to assist others with daily operations.  Only a select few of us are able to effectively manage to put out each of those fires and still get our daily tasks done.

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Peak Times

It just so happens, our energy levels come in waves and are largely beyond our control.  For example, many of us struggle with something called sleep inertia first thing in the morning.  This means our brain is still groggy from the night’s sleep and we aren’t as productive.

We tend to be less efficient right after lunch or dinner.  This is because the carbohydrates we consume during those meals gets broken down to tryptophan and that tryptophan is then converted into serotonin.  Well guess what…serotonin is then converted into melatonin which makes us sleepy!

Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

We’re all likely to be tired…er during 4pm and, of course, some days are worse than others depending on what we did the day or night before.

My team knows not to talk to me before a certain time each morning because I’m not thinking yet and am less able to speak diplomatically.  I start each morning just going through my inbox and addressing anything that came in over night while my brain wakes up.

When my energy kicks in, I kick it in high gear and beast it through my daily tasks until about lunch time.  On days that I’m real focused, I’ve finished my work day tasks by noon.  Some days when I have less energy, I may not finish at all or may take the whole day to finish.

I seek out the most efficient ways to accomplish tasks and I work them into my daily routines.  I know when my energy levels are at their highest and work my highest priority tasks during those times so that the most important stuff always gets done on time.


Adapt Instead of Force

Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo
Beast Mode Engaged!

Since we know when our energy levels will be at their highest, how about we switch up our schedules so that we’re doing the most important work when we’re the most awake?

Pay attention to your energy levels for a week.  When are you most productive?  When do you feel your best?  Do you have regular timeframes where you tend to be hyper-focused on the task at hand?

Knowing the answers to these questions and using them to your benefit will help you get the most out of your day.  This will, in turn, help you reach a level of productivity you’ve only dreamed of reaching before!

Now that you’re ready to engage beast mode, stay tuned for the next mindset transformation post where I’ll explain how your mindset can actually make you physically stronger!

Until next time, take care and hug your loved ones,


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