Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to my energy flows. Throughout the day, I vacillate between being alert, happy, and motivated, feeling depleted and brain-dead, and somewhere in between. It always seems strange that I can be dead tired at 3pm after a day full of meetings but then be full of energy within an hour of getting home in the evening. Often it feels impossible to get up in the morning but then hard to go to sleep at night. What gives?
I’ve realized that food, sleep and caffeine are only part of what drives my energy, happiness, and motivation throughout the day. So much of it is based on other things:
- The time of the day or week: Mondays are universally the worst.. am I right?? Mid-afternoon typically causes a slump.
- My environment: Where I am, who I’m with, and what I’m doing.
- What I’m anticipating: Something to look forward to versus something causing me anxiety.
- What I’m reflecting on: What I did the day/night before, and what mood I’ve been in.
- How I feel about myself: Good versus grease ball hair day, my performance at a recent presentation or meeting.
While some of these things I don’t have control over, many of these I do! And most don’t require a lot of time or effort. Here are some ways I’ve looked to get more energy naturally that you may also find to be helpful.
#1: Improve your environment.
Where you are
You may not be able to work from home Monday-Friday, but is there a meeting room in which you can work to be more productive? Can you get outside to run your errands instead of heading to a mall? Are there ways to decorate your home to make it a more enjoyable place to be?
Who you’re with
What people or types of people energize you? Which ones are complete downers? Maximize your time spent with people with positive energy. Chances are that if they’re happy and energized, you will be too.
What you’re doing
Go for a coffee run with a fun colleague to break up a day full of meetings. Try a different approach to meetings to yank yourself out of autopilot: listen better, challenge yourself to ask at least 2 questions during the session, or take notes as if you had to write out minutes afterwards.
If you’re able to, explore with your manager opportunities to get involved in projects that are of interest to you. This will create a more fundamental change!
If there are chores you have to do around the house that are an energy zap, make them more fun by putting on some of your favourite music or rewarding yourself after each accomplishment (even checking something off a to-do list works for me!)
#2: Maximize what you’re anticipating.
Something to look forward to
For shorter-term things, I like to visualize them happening and take care of any last-minute planning. If it’s an event, what am I going to wear? If it’s a package arriving in the mail, what’s in it and how will I use it?
For longer-term milestones, a countdown tracker is a fun way to remind yourself every day that you’re that much closer. You can also plan for it – if it’s a trip for example, you can make a packing list or make any outstanding reservations. Looking up photos of where you’re travelling to, or looking up the menu for a restaurant you are going to can also build anticipation.
I’m by no means an expert on this one, and do experience quite a bit of anxiety myself. I try a few different techniques to manage it.
First, I lower its negative power by reminding myself it’s not so bad. If, for example, I’m dreading a complex meeting I have to run, I remind myself of how well past meetings went, or how the agenda I’ve set makes it less complicated to lead. (More on this in my post on how to conquer the Monday blues!)
Second, I ask myself how much it matters in the grand scheme of things. For example, how much does one meeting matter in the grand scheme of my week/career? Should I let one hour of my week cause me that much anxiety?
Third, I think about how happy I’ll be once whatever I’m anxious about is over, to start encouraging myself to relax early.
#3: Change what you’re reflecting on.
You know that feeling when you wake up after an amazing night and just revel in the joy of it all? Try to bottle that and relive it!
Remind yourself of happy memories or of something recent that happened that brought you joy. Even if you’ve had a terrible day, week, month, or year, reflect on something positive that has happened, whether it be a past birthday, a stranger randomly giving you a compliment, or a recent trip. My post on how to celebrate your successes offers some other ideas!
#4: Boost your confidence.
This is arguably the largest piece to conquer and while it may seem overwhelming, implementing some confidence-boosting activities will do wonders for your energy. As I talk about in my book The Confidence Toolkit, things like changing your posture, exercising outside, and meditating are scientifically proven to increase your confidence.
I also wrote a post about being your own champion that’s really relevant. It provides some interesting food for thought about being your #1 fan and what that means for your self-perception.
Are you feeling energized yet? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you boost your energy when you’re in a slump!