My Energy Project

2013  was an exhausting year for me .

I discovered that I am not  exactly a morning person  so you can imagine that I have a love-hate relationship with my phone  alarm at 5 am. Or  maybe it was just fatigue…

 As 2013 came to a close, I was inspiried by Tony Schwartz  and Catherine McCarthy’s HBR article that was reprinted in The Edition issue #12. It highlighted the following:

Most of us respond to the rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitable takes a toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally.  That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasign levels of distraction, high turnover rates and soaring medical costs among employees.

…The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.  Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from  four  main  wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals-behaviours that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.

Schwartz and McCarthy  go further  to give  tips on how to reform:

  • Conduct an energy audit: Identify  energy-depleting behaviours and recognise their costs.
  • Identify rituals  for building and renewing physical energy: We have  been  told  over and over, the importance of healthy diets and exercise so  I won’t belabour this point. In the words of Nike: JUST DO IT!
  • Our bodies  need breaks at specific intervals. According to  the article, ultradian rhythms are 90-120 minute cycles  during which  our bodies move from a high-energy state into a physiological trough. Towards the  end of each cycle, the body begins  to crave a period of recovery.  the signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger and difficulty in concentrating…These breaks  could include taking a walk, talking to a colleague, listening to  music on your i-gadget, grabbing a  glass of water at the cooler… Just move away  from  your  desk and stretch .
  • Appreciating others goes a long way  creating postive emotions.  One  can do this  sending random handwritten ‘ Have a nice day!’  notes to colleagues or a simple phone call. You can take this a notch  higher by schedule lunch dates  with people to discuss  issues that you are both interested in.  Ensure that  you are  very specific on the goal of  your meeting. This could be to recognise their accomplishments and learn more about their personal lives and aspirations.
  • Being  human, we likely to play the victim when things to do work out as planned.  Tha authors of this article encourage us to view  the situation from  three different lenses.  The person viewing from the reverse lens asks “What would the other person  in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?” From  the  long lens perspective, one asks ” How will I most likely view this situation in 6 months?”  while  from the short lens “Regardless, of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it”

*****

I will let you read  the rest of the article from the links  above. In retrospect, I learnt a lot from the article (and I hope you too!) and would like to share  with you some of  the changes that I will be making in my personal life:

I know that  there’s a  yoga-craze  going on  but I believe in being connected to the Ultimate source of energy. With  the craziness of my schedule, I have  relaxed on my prayer life and  Bible study. I  know.  It’s never  a valid excuse. However, looking back  it happened gradually. Procrastinating once, twice until  I realized that I had to dust my  Bible  when I am going to church. I  would like to get into meditatively read  and learn from the Good Book. More recently, I have been  inspired by Casting Crowns recent release  Thrive  based on Psalms 1.

I know  for sure that there’s nothing as gratifying as working for a particular  cause.   I get this feeling every time I visit Kajiado’s  Children’s home and Rehab centre.   I am looking forward to  spending a whole week with the girls during my annual leave and  hopefully make even a small impact in their lives.   I have been  inspired by this blogger and  TEDx speaker whose  cause is just  writing love letters to strangers (and is on an energy project of her own)  What are you so passionate about that you would not hesitate to volunteer your time and other limited resources?

As much as possible,  let US try to correct our emotional faults. Start with avoiding the  7 deadly sins that Gandhi talked about. Let  US channel  our anger, hate, fear and all those negative  feels into perfecting your craft 

Planning: As  much I  love hanging out coffee at Java or Paleo, I would reduce the number of ‘dates’. Obviously within reason . I would reduce staleness and monotony in my schedule  by   consciously blocking out time to  do the things  that move me  and  hang out with people that  inspire and love me.  Yes.  I will not be afraid to say to NO to activities that I will not follow through or to do things just to please others

Social  media has  gotten a bad rap for  being an energy vampire with comparitis feeding it all the way. Well, I  am limiting my  hours on social media to during my morning commute (between approx 6.30-8am) and after 5pm. No more peeking at my  facebook  feed before bedtime. Yes. I am subsituting that time  for more focused meditation,  reading,   writing and squeezing in  a couple more chores so that I can have more downtime over the weekend.

Surviving  on  caffeine and dreams  was a huge contributor to my dramatic weight loss  in 2012-13 and….having the doctor prescribe blood builder…. and…constantly  feeling drained. To avoid this in opportunity-filled 2014. I will ensure that  I will have proper  nourishment  throughout the day. Got myself a  brand new water bottle, so that’s extra motivation to taking in  a litre a day .

Clutter:Dear Reader, if you know of a Bookaholics Anonymous in the +254 area, holla at this sista. If owning more books  than shoes is not a sign that I am geek (at least for a girl) then I don’t know what is. My  shelves and  bedroom table are  overflowing with  books , magazines  and  interesting articles that I would like keeps.  Well, before I get to that BA meeting,   I intend to participate in Jess Lively’s throw out 100 things challenge. I intend to go frugally green  with paper. Yes, I have  Bloglovin’  which keeps  wonderful track of all the blogs I subscribe  but I am still on the hunt for an app or online data store  where I can curate  all those uber-cool articles. Any suggestions?

There are those days that  when you feel like  you are in a constant daze and this always seems to happen when you have  an  upcoming important deadline. I know that  you know what I am taalking about.  Well, Katie suggests  the following strategies to tackle  the fuzzy brain at work

So friends, I  give  you  permission to hold me accountable on   the goals that I have I have set out for myself.

Did I miss something?

How  are   you  improving your energy levels?  I would love to hear your own stories and experiences via  the comments section  or at lknyamz@yahoo.com

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2 Responses to My Energy Project

  1. Priska says:

    I will hold you accountable.I would also recommend you read the book `The Pilgrimage` by Paulo Coelho.

    Like

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