Managing Your Energy in the Workplace
Managing your energy in the workplace can be quite a challenge. Many people only feel the effects of a long day of hard work, but don’t take the time to investigate the causes of feeling so stressed out.
Why not make an old fashioned list? Create four columns, two of which are for work and two for your personal life. Then you start to look into whatever influences you in a positive or negative way: what are your energy drains and what are your energisers?
An energy drain might be a colleague who constantly interrupts you during the day, frequent social obligations with family or having a long commute. An energiser might be a compliment from your manager, finishing a difficult project or exercising.
When you have created this list, ask yourself these questions:
- Which column is longer, the energizers or the energy drains? How does that affect you?
- Which column was easiest to compile? Which one is the longest?
- For your work list: which of these energy drains might be eliminated? Or delegated? Or (partially) avoided
- Which of your work energisers are things your regularly do? If needed, fit them into your schedule. If you are energised by visiting conferences or by mentoring a more junior colleague, make sure you get to do this from time to time.
- Be critical about your health situation in relation to this list. How do your eating habits affect this list? Which relationship do you see between your energy level and the amount of exercise and rest you get? What changes can you implement in these areas to improve your energy level?
Unfortunately, not every energy drain is something you can influence all by yourself. You may need someone’s co-operation to improve from where you are now. Sometimes it may not be possible to eliminate the energy drain at all.
Start with what you can change by yourself, because those quick wins can help you turn around the current situation and reduce your levels of stress. Make sure that your energy drains and your energisers are balanced.
A major red flag is a work list with lots of energy drains and barely any energisers. This points towards a more structural problem: your job costs you more energy than it gives. Certainly something to look into in the longterm, but start with the baby steps!
Karen Visser is a lifehacker. She has a passion for The New Way of Working, and working smarter in general, for all professionals who want to be productive with more fun. Entrepreneurs, secretaries, education professionals, managers or engineers: she supports everyone who struggles with the balance between work pressure and job satisfaction. Avoid burnout. You can find out more about Karen at New Broom or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.[:]