Category: Saying No

Do You Have Enough ENERGY to Get the Job Done?

By , October 23, 2013 5:40 pm

iStock_000022531364XLarge“Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.”

~ Jim Loehr, Author

We need energy to function and perform.

Our bodies require rest and recovery time in addition to the absence from work if you want to be healthy, happy and deliver high performance.

Balancing stress and recovering is essential in all aspects of our daily lives.

Most people in business (working in corporate or for themselves) have an imbalance of expending energy as opposed to recovering it. Over time, our energy reserves are depleted and this can lead to burnout.

It happened to me many years ago and I was fortunate enough to see this as a wake up call to change my lifestyle and approach to my working life. Others aren’t so lucky.

Most of us tend to unconsciously assume that we can indefinitely spend our mental and emotional energy without replenishing any at a physical or spiritual level. Our balance becomes skewed as we work longer hours, sacrificing our weekends and evenings.

Over time our performance is compromised, as we falsely believe that being successful means working harder, and this involves working long hours all the time. Some working cultures actively encourage this (I know this was true when I worked as an international consultant).

I’ve learned that spending and recovering energy has a natural flow to it, a bit like a tide ebbing and flowing. You’ve got to allow a natural rhythm in alignment with your body. Don’t just take my word for it – our breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure all have natural rhythms to them!

By starving your body of energy you are messing with the natural rhythms that effect your health, happiness and performance. No wonder you start to feel tired and exhausted!

Working at a crazy pace without breaks is actually addictive (you see it all the time in the work place). We are all copying each other heading towards overwhelm and burnout! If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, then you feel that you aren’t performing as well.

In our reluctance to stop and replenish, we turn to artificial stimulants to keep our bodies alert to meet the busy demands in our lives, such as caffeine and drugs. To help us relax, we use alcohol or sleeping pills to calm us down. These artificial stimulants become addictive over time as we rely on them to keep us going.

Are you drinking several cups of coffee during the day to stay on it? Are you then going home and drinking several glasses of wine at night to relax and chill? If so, you are messing with your rhythms and masking the depletion of your energy.

Here are some tips to increase your energy and avoid burnout even in the most demanding job:

Create circuit breakers in your routine – Our bodies are not designed to sit at a computer and stare at a screen answering emails all day, or sitting inactive in long meetings. Create breaks in your day – get up, move around, go for a 10-15 minute walk to shake off the atrophy. Drink plenty of water and go for a pee when you need one (seriously, I know people who forget to go all day!).

Schedule personal time with family and friends – Mark days or long weekends and holidays in advance in your calendar. These are not compromise-able! One of my clients takes a long weekend (3-days) every month to be fully present with her family. The more important we see our work and ourselves; the more we become unavailable to our friends and family. I coached a guy once who has lost all his friends because of his addiction to his job. He was very lonely.

Set some boundaries – Be realistic about what you can achieve and prioritize around your High Value Work (HVW). Minimize any distractions and stay focused on what’s important. Plan, prioritize and say NO to things that don’t serve you or your goals.

Stretch – don’t splatter -  yourself! – High performance requires us to step out of our comfort zone and create a new normal. To build new capacity mentally and emotionally you have to exceed your muscles’ current capacity  past it’s current limit for short periods of time followed by adequate recovery (just like building muscle tone at the gym). This is where you get growing pains and feel short-term discomfort as you are learning.

Take up a hobby – Yep… I’m serious! There’s almost a perception that taking time to rest and enjoy something that you like doing is a weakness because surely no one has time to do what your like doing, right?! Resting is seen as laziness! I enjoy walking and surrounding myself with nature is uplifting mentally, physically, emotionally…and spiritually. Make time for something that you enjoy each week, reading? Photography?

As a coach, I’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the energy and performance of people (including myself) because they consciously and regularly renew their energy. They are healthy, happy, high performers and are fully engaged in their lives.

Look after yourself… YOU are the only ONE you have!

Do you have enough energy to get the job done?!

 

How interruptions destroy your productivity…

By , May 8, 2012 5:22 pm

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I was the cause of many of my interruptions. I didn’t realize that I was opening the door and allowing them in! On average I was being interrupted about every 15 minutes… No wonder I was working a 75 hour week! I’ve now learned how to fight back.”

John, Senior Manager and Client

I started coaching John two months ago when he was constantly staying late and working weekends trying to keep up with his heavy workloads.

He felt overwhelmed, out of control and extremely tired.

As we started working together, I realized that his workloads weren’t impossible. So why was he overwhelmed and unproductive?

The constant interruptions were distracting his concentration and killing his productivity…

Here’s what John realized:

  • He was inviting interruptions throughout his day because he was accessible to everyone all of the time.
  • He was at the mercy of other people’s phone calls, emails, demands and agendas that interrupted him constantly.
  • He relied on extra time to do HIS work: early in the morning before work or after work when he was most productive because no one else is around!
  • His day was filled with distractions and followed this pattern: start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-start-stop (No wonder he was exhausted!).

John could see a pattern of how constant waves of noise and other people’s demands were eroding his productivity. Even casual conversations broke through any pockets of productivity. He’d get distracted and then find it hard to concentrate back on the task. John worked out that he was only being productive 2-3 hours each day! No wonder he was staying late or working into the evening!

Here’s the thing…

There are many reasons for interruptions – 95% of them are not necessary.

Here’s how to fight back and stop interruptions impacting on your day by protecting your Zone of Productivity

 

1. Work alone. If you’re always being interrupted then you’re constantly mind shifting between tasks. It can take up to 20 minutes to get back into your Zone of Productivity. It’s difficult to focus on what’s important and you end up wasting time. Book a room. Go to a coffee shop (That’s where this article was written!). Work on important things away from any distractions.

2. Limit your access – Stop being ‘nice’. If others ask questions and you’re always there to answer, they don’t have to think for themselves. You teach others to rely on you. Let them figure it out and make the decision. Your accessibility reduces their productivity as well as yours! Teach people how to treat you. ‘Open door’ policies are admirable but they are not practical ALL the time! Create and communicate some ‘closed door’ time too so you can get important things done.

3. Role model productivity – Leadership is NOT about how many hours you work! You don’t have to be available ALL the time. Nor do you have to be first to arrive and last to leave! Get clear on your High Value Work and schedule time to get this done. Be selective, set boundaries and let people know when you’re not available. Leave work on time at least three days a week.

4. Turn off communications – If you’re scheduling time to work alone on a project, then turn off all communications with the outside world: phones, SMS, email etc. It’s easy to become distracted by device addiction. You get to choose when you answer YOUR phone and emails. Don’t teach people that you’re available 24/7 – it’s not realistic!

5. Set a timer – People will steal as much time from you as possible and some like to talk because it’s better than working! Signpost how much time you have available at the beginning of a phone call or meeting and stick to it. If a person needs longer then they can schedule an appointment with you. Doing this helps keep the conversation focused and on track and keeps interruptions to a minimum.

Decide to be productive and fight back against interruptions. You have more control than you think.

 

 

Recommit to Your Goal

By , February 5, 2011 7:31 pm

“Commitment gets you started and propels you through the early stages of any game, but it’s recommitment that ignites your reserves when you feel like giving up.”

Gay Hendrick, Author, The Big Leap

I love this quote especially because it is so true!

I was coaching a client recently who came up against the challenge of low energy and distraction.

He was100% committed to his goal of Self Investment and growth. He ‘got’ how important this was for his personal success. However, in the busy-ness of his working life he would get lost in the do-do of doing and forget about the value he’d placed on his own personal development.

He allowed other bright shiny objects and distractions to pull his attention away and steer him off course. The scheduled time for his high valued personal investment was sacrificed in those moments of low energy and reactivity.

He became frustrated for allowing this to happen. Over time he started to believe that he wasn’t cut out to be successful as his ego took over to look for external evidence to support his belief.

Sure enough, his ego provided evidence!

My client spiralled into self-doubt and wavered off course because he was too busy being distracted and reacting to other people’s demands on him. He’d forget about the commitment he had made to himself and it slipped down his priority list.

Here’s how I’ve learnt to recommit…

We all need to be reminded of the things that are important to us because there’s so much going on it’s easy to forget what we have committed to. We all hit wobbly moments where our attention wanders and our energy is focused off course.

1. Breathe – Take a step back from the situation and your ego. Create some space to get clear again. Remember WHY the thing you have committed to is important and of high value. Re-ignite your commitment.

2. Adopt a No Excuses Policy – This requires a full decision on your part to be 100% present. This includes 100% engagement of your energy. It’s a done deal when it comes to your daily discipline to making it happen. There are no exceptions, it’s just what you do (Like brushing your teeth every day!).

3. Write it down – To remind you. Create a success mantra on small cards or sticky posts and put them in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. I use sticky notes in my car, on my computer, by my bed and posted on my office wall. All of these are prompts to remind me daily of my key commitments in my life. A written reminder helps me to stay on track.

4. Notice when you feel off centre – Learn to pay attention to your body. You’ll notice when things feel out of alignment or something doesn’t feel right. Don’t just ignore it and carry on. Take action to step back in and re-align yourself to your goal.

5. Watch Your Language – Look out for shoulds, musts and oughts creeping into your language. These indicate a sense of duty rather than a sense of freedom. Look out for getting stuck in a rut and using these as excuses to pull you away from your goal.

Recommitting to your goal is a continuous process if you want to be successful.

©2010 by Elaine Bailey International Ltd
(Registered Address: PO Box 250 88 Pavilion Way Meltham Holmfirth HD9 9BL; No: 7015168).
All rights reserved.
Website by WhizzLiz