2018 is just around the corner… How are you feeling? Good? No, how are you really feeling? Worn out? Tired? Looking forward to some days off? Fed up with work, clients, and the pressure?

Especially in the working environment, we are being chased to be as productive as possible. Everything is time sensitive as time is money. That is what is said by managers, CEO’s, leaders and it is imprinted in our heads. We are managed to spend as little time as possible on a task and give as much value as possible. Every time. As if you are a machine. You cannot have a bad day. You cannot take your private problems to work. You need to be productive. And when you work in the consultancy industry you need to be billable. Recently I spoke to someone who needs to be 100% billable, which is not possible unless you work overtime, standard.

We get time management courses to be as productive as possible. We need to track our hours and explain what we have done in those hours and it is benchmarked to others in your team and the industry. In many industries, it is not about people anymore, it is being as profitable as possible. Doing more in fewer hours. The pressure is on.

In our private life, we feel that we have to do as much as possible in the little time we have. Otherwise, we are lazy, missing out on all the fun and not ambitious in all aspects of our lives. And we need to compensate our work life with our private life to feel fulfilled. It’s the balance we are looking for. We need to have an abundant social life, we need to be a good partner to our loved one, a good parent to our kids, and we need to do sports on a regular basis for our health and some more things we need to be and do. And again, the pressure is on.

Humans are not machines. We are emotional and spiritual beings that are affected by situations, circumstances, thoughts and other people. Everything has an effect on us, whether we like it or not. It can have a positive or a negative effect on us. Some things or people can have a drowning effect on our energy level. While other situations or people lift our energy level up.

We measure time. But why don’t we measure our energy levels? Time is finite. We cannot create more time as a day has 24 hours and a week has 7 days. While our energy levels can be renewed and expanded.

In a time when the numbers of overworked, stressed and burnt out people double every year we need to pay attention. It is no longer to be ignored. What can you do yourself to make sure you do not end up feeling perpetually exhausted?

One of the things you can do is connect with yourself, listen to the signals that little voice inside of you is telling you and measure your energy level. What gives you energy and what drains your energy? By getting insight of depleting sources of your energy you can choose to change it.

Insight 1

What gave me a big insight was when I stopped drinking alcohol for three months as part of my preparation for running a marathon. I honestly thought that the few wines I drank on the weekend didn’t have an impact on me. My sleeping hours increased and I woke up more energized. Not only on the weekends but also during the week. This insight made me choose to feel energized over drinking alcohol long after the marathon. And yes, I know that sounds a bit boring but for me, it was worth it. As the reward is more energy and more time for doing the things I love with more focus.

Insight 2

I got another insight from an exercise I did regarding the people who were close in my life. I had to write my name in the middle of a piece of paper. And the assignment was to add all the people that played an important role in my life as family and friends but also key co-workers that I worked closely with. Every time I added someone I had to ask myself if that someone gave me energy, was neutral or had a negative impact on my energy level. I had never looked at people like this but this exercise gave me a clear picture of what I unconsciously accepted in my life. Some of the people who I spent a lot of time with had a negative impact on me and my energy level. Because of the visualization, it became clear to me. And once I saw this I had the choice in what to do with those relationships. Some of the relationships you cannot ‘delete’ but you have a choice on how close you let them in your life and affect you. This way you can manage your energy level.

Just two examples of what helped me. What can you do to manage and increase your energy? How do you choose to spend your energy? The reward is to spend time with more energy on the things and people you love!

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