In your working life, it’s important that you’re good at your job. It’s important that results are achieved. It might be good if you could just come to work, do what you like and nobody would care about the results – but that’s not the case. Results and progress are important in your career, and if you want to be a great IT worker, you’ll need to stand out from the rest. One of the best ways to do this is to get better results – by managing your energy.
You might notice – I know I do – that your energy levels, both mental and physical – vary throughout the day. You might feel energised and motivated after your morning coffee or after lunch, but the energy may die down at other parts of the day. You may feel you have less energy early in the week, and more energy later in the week. The key is to manage your energy levels in both the long and short term to get the most out of your job – and therefore get better results and get more done.
Recognise Positive and Negative Levels
The first part of managing and improving your overall energy levels is to be able to recognise when you’re in each state. A high energy level is where you feel motivated, focused, and determined to get the job done. You’re not getting distracted by other forces and you feel like you’re “in the zone” with your work. Lower energy levels are the opposite. You find yourself easily distracted, not focused enough, and even getting tired, bored, or burnt out.
The idea of managing your energy at work is to have more of the “high energy levels” in your day and less of the “low energy levels”. First of all, work out what causes you to get into each state. Do you feel motivated first thing in the morning? After your morning coffee? Starting earlier than everyone else? After lunch? After everyone else has gone home?
When do you feel tired or unmotivated? At the end of the day? In the morning? After a long meeting?
Knowing and recognising these points can help you manage the energy levels throughout your day and week and will go a long way to getting better results at work.
Improve Energy Levels
A great way of managing your energy levels is to do things that improve your energy for the work day. There are many things you do to accomplish this:
- Sleep well. Probably the most important thing you can do – ensuring you are well rested for each day will give you the mental and physical energy to get through the day.
- Eat well. This doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect diet. It just means cutting out things that may not be good for you. I’m no health expert, but if you have takeaway most nights of the week and a block of chocolate after lunch, it may be having a negative effect on your energy.
- Exercise. Going for a run or a walk on a regular basis can actually give you more energy. It improves blood flow, and is known for reducing stress. If you do it during your lunch break, it’s also a good way to get out of the office, clear your head and return more refreshed.
- Rest when needed. You can’t perform at a full pace every day and expect your body and mind to keep up. They need downtime to rest and recover. Ensure you make time for some relaxation regularly.
Manage Your Energy By Balancing Your Life
While it may seem that the more you work the better you get, this isn’t always the case. If you work twelve hour days, six days a week, you will find you’ll get tired quicker, lose energy and therefore your work performance will suffer. It’s important to create a balance in your life so your focus and energy is at its peak during work time.
This means leaving work at work – not working all day, going home and working all night. Of course, there are times that this may be needed, but it should be the exception and not the norm. You should also be making time in your life outside of work for family, friends, hobbies and exercise. Life isn’t all about work, and if you maintain a healthy work/life balance, both parts will improve because of it! You’ll have more energy at work, perform better, get better results, which will all help your career in IT.
What are your thoughts on managing energy levels? Post your comments in the area below.