We live in a world where we are pulled in several directions, our limited attention is grabbed and demanded, and we rarely experience a moment of nothingness. This way of being is having serious ramifications for people and organizations globally. In fact, a Well+Good sleep survey showed that 92 percent of respondents feel fatigued more than one day per week, 65 percent point to general stress for constantly keeping them awake and that the average person only has 4 hours and 26 minutes of free time per week. That isn’t even an hour a day. We are, sadly, a depleted society.
However, all is not lost! There is one thing that, when channeled optimally, increases your capacity, performance and happiness. That thing is your energy. Human energy is a valuable currency. You could say that how you spend, invest, and save yours will determine how wealthy you are. If you think of wealth as happy, fulfilled, healthy, and successful, that is.
At myEMQ we define human energy management as the art of understanding what state you are in and being able to navigate to the state needed for optimal performance and positivity. Having researched the topic in depth, we identified the 74 mindset and behavioral competencies that lead to optimal energy management, which span 12 factors. We then created an evaluation and mindset and behavioral development program to enable people and organizations to harness the power of human energy.
Having assessed and coached many leaders, managers, and aspiring leaders, the topic of where energy and time is spent often comes up in correlation to feeling fulfilled and less stressed. We have found that there are a couple of “buckets” that need to be filled for us to feel good. The extent to which these buckets need filling depends on the individual, and it is all about figuring out what works for you personally. When energy is spent in these areas, it contributes to better health and happiness. So here are a couple of ways to spend your energy for a healthier and happier 2020!
1: Spending Energy on Yourself
Spending time and energy on yourself is not selfish. There, I said it. In fact, a little time for you enables you to be better for others. Often, time for self is the first thing sacrificed when time is feeling scarce. Time for yourself includes time to take care of your health, time to rest, and moments just for you. This keeps your energy foundation solid. Without some investment here, you have nothing to fuel your body, mind, and soul.
Ask yourself, what percentage of time do you spend on yourself each week?
2: Spending Energy on Others
Spending energy on others includes time nurturing relationships that matter and interacting with others. It is important to spend dedicated time, and invest into, relationships that matter to you. This could be with friends, family, or colleagues. One thing people often regret is not spending enough time with loved ones, and given our relationships have been strongly linked to happiness, it is time to make sure you proactively dedicate some energy to this bucket. This doesn’t mean spending time pleasing people. It means the time that creates healthy, supportive, high quality relationships.
This bucket also includes time in service of others. This could be volunteering, or simple five-minute favors helping a person in need. When we help others, it doesn’t just help them, it makes us feel good. Of course, here you also need some boundaries to make sure the balance is right for you.
Ask yourself, what percentage of time do you spend on relationships and others each week?
3: Spending Energy on Achievement
Spending time and energy on achieving your goals provides a source of fuel and motivation. This could be professional accomplishments or accomplishments in your life. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, whether that is being a stay-at-home parent, being an athlete, or having a role in a corporate office, it is important to feel that we are doing it well, growing, and achieving. That, at the end of the day, we look back at our time and feel good about it, our output, and what we have done.
Ask yourself, what percentage of time are you spending on what you do and are you feeling fulfilled with what you are doing?
Summing it Up
Having asked yourself about each of the three areas, now ask yourself, in general, how do you feel? How fulfilled do you feel? Look back at your ratios. How is the percentage of time in each area making you feel? Monitoring how filled your buckets are and how you feel will enable you to figure out the ratio that works for you. Remember, your ratio is general guidance. Things will arise, so you will need to remain flexible, as there are always weeks when the ratios may need to change so that energy can be directed in the best way.
Having assessed and equipped many people with the skills of energy management, we have found that interestingly if one area slips for a while, the other two can keep us going. For example, if you have a tough month at work but you are maintaining some time for yourself and time on relationships. Essentially, we can draw energy from the other buckets to help us through a negative situation or moment that occurs in another bucket. However, if one slips for too long, or two slip, then it can really impact our capacity, emotions, and relationships. If you want to see how you, or your organization, are doing with harnessing the power of your human energy capital you can take this free quick quiz!
With the start of a new decade, it’s time to ask yourself:
- How are you spending your energy?
- How are you investing your energy?
- How are you saving your energy?
- What shifts can you make to yield better results this year?
Answering these questions is a good start to helping you unlock your potential in 2020!