We all have different levels of energy at different times of the day. Most people would say they definitely are or are not a morning person – there’s not usually much grey area in the morning department. As for night owls, the more time they have after the sun goes downto get things done, the better. And when it comes to using your prime time to accomplish critical tasks, most of you probably think you know how to best manage your time. But have you ever had a day when you’ve been really proud of how you kept up with your appointments and meetings? Then 3pm arrives and you’re feeling too lethargic to take on that crucial task you’ve allotted an hour for? My guess is you’ve probably been there more often than you’d like to admit.
But don’t let it get you down. According to financial planner and business visionary, Thomas Leonard, the management oftime is really just an illusion. As Leonard says: “There’s no such thing as time management. There’s only activity management in the time we’re given.”
The key is to find ways to manage your activities and priorities differently – something you can control – so that the amount of time you have – something you can’t control – is enough. One of the best ways to maximise your job performance in the face of increasing demands is by focusing on energy management.
Unlike time, your energy capacity is something you can increase and renew in order to meet the challenges you face on a daily basis. And managing your energy is the key difference between being a dolphin or a whale – or worse yet, a jellyfish or a shark.
When it comes to managing your energy, you first must become aware of your energy levels so you can manage them with a few simple yet powerful tools. To help you out, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. How are you surviving? Take a moment to honestly and objectively (without judgement) assess your energy management to date. This includes identifying and recognising energy drains, obstacles and roadblocks that keep you from performing at your best. These drains can range from physical concerns to emotional struggles – anything that prohibits you from performing to the best of your abilities.
2. Are you thriving – or merely surviving? We have a choice when it comes to how we meet the increasing demands and expectations that are put in front of us. One option is to simply survive – to make quick decisions to get through the tasks in front of you in order to move on to the next. How do you act and respond when you are in survival mode? I want you to identify the negative and costly long-term consequences of merely surviving. Although choosing to survive provides immediate solutions and instant gratification, it minimises your performance and success over time.
3. Can you make the shift from surviving to thriving? To make the shift, you’ll need to identify the positive sources of energy that will increase your leadership performance and overall energy level. In addition, you’ll need to learn techniques and strategies that will help you better manage your leadership energy and increase your capacity to meet the daily demands of running a business. Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to identify exactly what type of leadership energy you’re bringing to the office. And don’t stress out if you find your energy level isn’t ideal at this point: every leader has experienced all four types of the following energies at different times in their lives. Just relax and read on to identify exactly what type of “energy animal” you are now.
You’re a dolphin if you have a high level of energy and it’s coming out in positive ways. Dolphin leaders are inspiring and not controlling. People want to be around you because you give appropriate feedback and are full of enthusiasm. You create a fun atmosphere in theworkplace – everyone wants to play on your wave!
You’re a jellyfish if you have a low levelof energy and it’s coming out negative. You’re so slow, the only thing moving you forward is the current. And you have such a negative attitude that you’ll sting anything in your way. You’re not productive and you are mad at everyone. Sometimes your leadership sting is invisible and it catches people off guard and really hurts. No one wants to be around you.
Still not sure which energy animal you are? These situational examples may help you identify yourself:
- It’s Monday morning, and you’re meeting with your staff of four. One employee is late – as usual – and you bite their head off for being tardy again. (Last week you laughed it off.) One employee summarises the sales report, and your comments are all negative as youonly notice what’s not being accomplished. And don’t forget your body language: you never smile once during the meeting. After the meeting, as you head into your office, you realise you were a total shark that morning.
- Your entire team worked really hard to land an account, but despite their best efforts, it didn’t come through. And while you’re not happy on the inside, you are able to keep your dolphin energy going for the team. You point out all the improvements they’d made in working together as a team and how they’ll be ready for the next one.You immediately start looking to the next big account with enthusiasm and a positive attitude
- You’ve been running a cash-positive print shop for a few years and are quite happy with your success but aren’t very motivated to grow. Your employees help you realise you need to get refocused and put some more energy into the business (you were just hangingout on the surface like a big grey whale)
- You own a very small companyand have been losing one employee after another in very short order. Finally,during an exit interview, an employee tells you that you’re a difficult leader because you want everyone else to work fast while you just sit back and oversee things. Plus, you always have a negative attitude and your comments oftensting. You realise you’re a jellyfish
- As you interact with your employees this month, see what type of leadership energy you’re bringing to the table before you start talking. Make a mental note of how many times you experience yourself acting as a shark, a dolphin, a whale or a jellyfish. As you become more aware of your actions, you can make a conscious effort to change. Strive for dolphin energy every day, and you’ll soon find your shark (or whale or jellyfish) days are far behind you.
You’re a shark if you have a high level of energy but it’s coming out in a negative form. Simply put, you look and act like a shark! As a leader, you’re in a reactive rather than proactive mode.You’re biting everyone’s head off no matter what they say to you. Your outlook is ugly and negative for the current state of affairs and the future of your company. No one can do anything right today! Sound familiar?
Grey Whale Energy
You’re a whale if you have a low level of energy and it’s coming out positive. Just like the whale, you have no teeth, so you won’t bite anyone’s head off, but you’re so slow you just aren’t getting much done. In fact, if you were any slower, you might be a beached whale! But at least you’re happy and serene and have an overall good attitude as you cruise along the coast of life.
4 Ways to Stop Worrying in 2019
If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how.
What if I can’t complete that piece of work in time? What if my home gets burgled while I’m on holiday? We all worry – some people more than others. A few of these worries are genuine concerns, but most are completely out of our control and are most likely never to materialise.
But still, they occupy our minds. And with the digital world now occupying even more of our time, we’ve been given even more material to worry about. Famines in far-away countries, children orphaned by a flood, if we simply turn on our TVs or look to social media, we can become completely overwhelmed by what we see. And it’s making us all desperately unhappy.
So, what do we do? If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how:
Monitor and limit social media
We all know our phones are an addiction. And scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, you can compare your life to everyone else’s and add another huge worry to your ever-growing list: I’m not good enough/my life sucks. Which is why there’s a growing trend among Generation X-ers (and even some Millennials), to quit social media altogether.
“It was like breaking an addiction for the first few days, where I felt I was missing out, but after a few weeks I realised that the world carries on, and I was still in touch with those people I actually wanted to connect with. I felt lighter and happier,” says Caryn White*, a mother-of-two and small business owner. If you can’t quit social media for work reasons, then take it off your phone, and only access it on your desktop at specific times of the day.
We’re not advocating sticking your head in the sand: just limit which channels you absorb news from, and how often you do it. The last thing you need is to open up your phone on waking up and read about the latest catastrophe, which you are powerless to do anything about.
Pick a few trusted news sources and check them at specific times. Avoid the news on the radio in your car; rather listen to fascinating audio books or podcasts that lift your mood instead of making you worry.
Assumption or fact?
This simple concept is incredibly helpful when faced with a worrying situation. Your child has a strange rash, you’ve Googled it and you’re pretty sure it’s chickenpox. Now the whole family is going to get it, you’ll miss work, your boss will be angry, and you may lose your job. Is the fact that your child has chicken pox an assumption or a fact?
Is losing your job a fact or an assumption? They’re both assumptions. So, take your child to the doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then take the next steps from there (a good medical aid can also help ease the stress of the financial cost of doctors’ visits). This approach is a simple way to deal with worries that start to spiral out of control in your mind.
Write them down
Worrying can seem insurmountable if it’s all in your head. Instead, try this strategy from Qualified FAMSA Counsellor Lynette Blomfield:
- Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, until you calm down.
- Once you’re calm, write down the five most stressful things on your list. It could be increasing expenses, like a huge jump in medical aid costs per month.
- Brainstorm what you could do to change or eliminate the worry/problem (maybe you can move to a medical aid company that charges less each month?). If necessary, ask a good friend or colleague for advice.
- Focus on making progress, not ticking all your worries off and striving for ‘perfection’.
- Stay on course and come back to your list regularly.
Dealing with worrying is about being proactive. You’re the only one that can begin the process of reducing anxiety, so now’s the time to take some steps. If you don’t know how to begin doing this on your own, it may be best to see a qualified counsellor or therapist to get you started.
*name has been changed
These 6 Types of Music Are Known To Dramatically Improve Productivity
Just another example of how much you gain by listening.
Music isn’t just a means of entertaining ourselves: it can also encourage creativity and help us become more productive. Listening to music can also be therapeutic, relieving feelings of stress so you can concentrate better.
Research has found that certain types of music can be beneficial to us while we work. Some types of music seem to help with learning and improve our ability to process information. Other types help block out distracting background noise. Still other types sync with our brain waves to induce “eureka moments.”
So, if you’re struggling with productivity and want to know what you should be listening to, read on. These are the six types of music that will give you a major boost in productivity.
1. Classical Music
Researchers have long claimed that listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. This theory, which has been dubbed “the Mozart Effect,” suggests that listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being. Various studies have confirmed that listening to classical music enhances one’s ability to manipulate shapes and solve spatial puzzles.
The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus. And classical music is known for being calming, relaxing and helping reduce stress. This genre of music has been found to help students perform 12 percent better on their exams. Some selections, like Beethoven’s “Für Elise,” seem to help students study longer and retain more information.
Here are other few classical selections you can use to boost productivity while working:
- Bach Classical Study Playlist
- Classical Music for Studying: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach Study Music Playlist for Better Concentration
- 6-Hour Mozart Piano Classical Music Studying Playlist: Great Beautiful Long Pieces
- Vivaldi’s quick-tempo “Four Seasons”
2. Nature Music
Listening to the sounds of nature, like waves crashing or a babbling brook, has been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration. Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds, such as flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises such as bird calls and animal noises can be distracting.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that natural sounds boost moods and focus. The study found employees were more productive and had more positive feelings when nature sounds were playing in the background while they worked.
This may be because nature sounds helped mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing. Researchers found that workers not only performed better on tasks, but calming nature sounds also had a restorative effect on cognitive abilities.
Here are some selections to try:
3. Cinematic Music
An intense film score can make you feel like you’re doing something inspiring or important, even if you’re just chipping away at your to-do list. A grandiose, epic soundtrack playing in the background may make even the most mundane tasks feel like you’re changing the world, thus heightening your concentration and productivity.
Cinematic music scores can be empowering, lifting your spirits and brightening your mood. So, if you’re feeling tired and drained, try listening to some epic-style cinematic music to give you that extra boost of motivation.
Some great movie scores to try include:
- “The Social Network”
- “Lawrence of Arabia”
- “Cloud Atlas”
- “The Bourne Identity”
4. Video Game Music
It might seem strange, but listening to music composed for video games can be a great tool to help you focus. Every element of a video game is designed to create an enhanced gaming experience for all your senses, and the music has been composed specifically to help you focus on your task without being distracted by a cacophony of sounds.
This music generally has no lyrics or human voices and is fairly fast-paced to keep you moving forward. Many of these video games involve solving puzzles and dealing with intense situations, so you’re subjecting yourself to simulated stressful challenges. Video games have invested a lot of resources in figuring out the perfect balance to the music they use.
Video game music is composed in a way that keeps you engaged as you evaluate, navigate and often fight your way through these make-believe worlds. These musical compositions may be just the thing to propel you onward and keep you zooming through your tasks and daily to-do list.
Here are some excellent video game music selections to check out:
- Battlefield One
- Final Fantasy 7
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Assassin’s Creed 2
- The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
5. Music between 50 and 80 beats per minute
Some research suggests that it’s not the type of music that’s important in helping you stay focused and productive, but the tempo of that music. Studies have found that music with 50 to 80 beats per minute can enhance and stimulate creativity and learning.
Dr. Emma Gray, a cognitive behavioural therapist, worked with Spotify to research the benefits of certain types of music. She found that listening to music set in the 50- to 80-beat range puts the brain into an alpha state.
When we’re awake, we’re typically in a state of mind known as beta, a heightened state of alertness where our brain-wave activity is between 14 and 30 HZ. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 HZ, we’re in a more relaxed alpha state of mind that allows us to be more receptive and open, and less critical. This state of mind is what scientists associate with activities that involve our imagination, memory and intuition, including our “eureka moments.”
If you have ever listened to music that you’re familiar with, only to find yourself deep in thought and not really hearing the music at all, this is an alpha state induced by music. You’re tuning out while being tuned in.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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