A rise in Energy Crisis
As the world scrambles for renewable energy sources to meet the growing demand, there seems to be another energy crisis that seems to lack adequate attention. Personal energy crisis. We live in an age where the load in our to-do-list is increasingly becoming longer and demanding more from us. The responsibilities both at home and our workplace have led us to live in a state of continuous tiredness. Personal energy crisis is clearly marked with two major things that is impossible to ignore; increased dependency on energy drinks such as Red-bull and the rise of anxiety across all ages of people, which show up as agitation, aggressiveness, and impatience. But like the world energy crisis, the root of personal energy crisis is poor management of personal energy.
Addressing the crisis
Good management of your personal energy is tied to two things, your awareness and your habits.
Awareness: One of the important features on any smartphone is often located on the top right corner of the phone’s screen. It’s the battery icon that tells you the status of your phone’s battery: it makes you aware of the energy left before your next charging session. Similar to how we keep an eye on the battery status of our new phones to prevent them from abruptly dying on us, we need to have a means by which we remain aware of our life personal energy before we experience burnout, which is equivalent to a phone dying while in use.
Awareness of your personal energy begins with the knowledge and appreciation of the four quadrants for personal energy abbreviated as the 4QPE, which comprises of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energies. Unlike the phone that runs on a single battery, we run on a four-chambered battery. Insufficient power in any of the four chambers will only make you run so long before you experience a burnout. Similar to how we are accustomed to feeling physical fatigue and there by resting, we ought to equally pay attention to the other three chambers of our batteries. Otherwise stated, we must be aware of the state of our emotional, mental, and spiritual energy as much are very aware of our physical energy. What’s even more valuable is realizing that if we manage properly the emotional, mental, and spiritual chambers, our physical chamber easily managed. Unfortunately, we pay more attention to our physical state compared to emotional, mental, or spiritual state. We must ask ourselves what habits must practice or avoid in order to manage the 4QPE.
Habits: When it comes to personal energy, habits either drain or recharge our batteries. After having an all-round awareness of your personal energy and realizing that your productivity depends on it, you can develop habits that will help you maximize your personal energy in all four quadrants.
1. Resting and Recharging: Protect your resting time
As simple as this sounds, resting and recharging is becoming increasingly rare and valuable. Rare because what used to be a safe space and time for resting and recharging has been invaded by technology. If you take your phone to bed or have a TV in your bedroom then, technology has infiltrated your resting and recharging space and time. Resting and recharging is becoming more valuable because it’s the only means through which we attain mental sharpness and alertness in a world full of distractions.
When it comes to physical and mental resting, I use six hours of uninterrupted sleep between 11:00pm to 5:00am. To rest and recharge mentally, in addition to the six hours when I am asleep, I allow reading or watching something that allows me to relax. And what I consider the foundational chamber of my energy, my spiritual energy, I use prayer and fellowship with others of my faith to rest and recharge. This is how I make sure I receive a comprehensive rest and recharge for me to fire on all cylinders. The question I have for you is this, how do you rest and recharge your four-energy chambers for maximum personal energy? And what is the quality of your rest and recharging time and space? Without proper resting and recharging habits, it will be impossible to exercise the second habit for maximizing your personal energy, exercising inner calmness in every situation.
2. Exercising inner Calmness in every situation
The last place to expect calmness is in battlefields where our troops are always under constant pressure of imminent attacks. Yet Former Navy SEAL Commander, Rorke Denver, a man who was trained to be at the heart of the battle said that one of the most valuable advice he ever received in SEAL Training school was on calmness, which was, calm is contagious. On the surface, this advice doesn’t even remotely connect to the warrior he was being trained to be. But looking closely, a state of calmness keeps at bay its opposite and alternate state, panic. While calmness allows us to focus our energy, panic disperses energy making us ineffective under pressure. This explains why warriors such as men in the Navy SEALs are trained to be calm under stressful environments.
Calmness is an inside condition that comes with lots of exercise. It’s maintaining a clear head when there is chaos all around you. You can only exercise inner calmness when you know how to do two things: First, being a minimalist when it comes to having control. Understanding that you can control a limited number of things when chaos arises, will help you to give up controlling things that are out of your control and focus on the very few things that you still can control. Often, the few things we can really control lay within us such as our mental state. Second is learning to ride the storms of life instead of fighting it. Like an eagle if you learn how to take advantage of the storm, you won’t waste any energy fighting the storm, but you will use it to soar higher.
Exercising calmness in all situations will prevent you from being sucked up into the noises of life. It enables you to think and see things clearly thereby allowing you to move with precision. Those who don’t remain calm especially in relationships end up misusing their energy engaging in arguments that drains them.
3. Avoid unprofitable arguments
If there is anything that can quickly drain all your four energy chambers, simultaneously, is unprofitable arguments. The writer of some of the most influential letters in history, the Apostle Paul, often warned the men he mentored to be transformative leaders concerning foolish arguments. In a letter to a young leader named Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Avoid foolish and ignorant arguments, knowing that they generate strife.” His advice might be a few hundred years old but it’s truth is undeniable. Despite your cultural or religious background, unprofitable arguments lead to strife and drains all parties’ energies. To stay away from unprofitable arguments, we must remember that people have different perspectives depending on their past and present experiences. Sometimes giving people time to gain the insight you have is all the remedy for arguments, especially in a relationship. Giving up the need to always prove that you’re right will also save you a lot of energy.
In summary, as much as our personal energy is renewable, it’s not unlimited. If we are to experience productivity at the highest level, we must manage and protect our four-chambers of personal energy equally since they are dependent on each other. Protect your resting time, intentionally exercise calmness under stressful situations, and never engage in unprofitable arguments. You will maximize your personal energy for productivity.
While maximizing our time through the habits we covered in the last post, and using the lessons from today’s post to maximize our energy will greatly improve our odds extraordinary results, the art of traveling light through life which will be our next subject to cover in the next few weeks, will greatly improve the quality of life we live. Until next time, here is a warning from Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, “Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity”.