Updated: May 3, 2022
What do you do when you get drunk on beer and wine the night before and this morning you suddenly get the opportunity of a lifetime and to pitch to the CEO of your biggest key account.
Yes, it doesn't always have to be beer and wine. That can happen, but often there are other reasons that we find ourselves without energy. The pursuit of efficiency may be a good thing, but people are not machines and they cannot always work at maximum capacity. Productivity has nothing to do with clockwork.
It's about energy management.
You've probably heard the question, "Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?" In terms of energy levels, a thermometer will simply detect a loss of energy. A thermostat learns to produce energy and regulate it accordingly.
Your time is fixed, but your energy is flexible. You are in control of when you get up and go. When you realize this fact, you can get more work done in less time. To create the life you want, this is essential.
You are not a machine. To maximize human productivity, consider these 3 secrets of energy management.
SECRET 1: DON'T SACRIFICE SLEEP FOR WORK.
Rest is the most important requirement for mental and physical energy. Although it's tempting to skip sleep during busy times, doing so can negatively impact the quality and pace of your work. The more tired you are, the less productive you are.
Mood swings, concentration problems and difficulty making decisions are all a result of sleep deprivation. In a sleep study conducted with medical professionals, sleep deprivation was shown to increase errors by 20 percent. It also lengthened tasks by 14 percent.
A restful night's sleep drastically changes your outlook. When you go to bed, you may feel discouraged and overwhelmed. When you get enough sleep, you feel fantastic.
Specialists know what happens in the brain when you are sleep deprived. When you don't get enough sleep, activity in your prefrontal cortex is suppressed. This part is responsible for executive functions like decision making and social control.
In contrast, the "fight-or-flight" part of the brain (called the amygdala) is especially active. This means that your sleepy mind makes primitive decisions that you're likely to regret later.
Optimize your sleep so you can make better decisions and ultimately live a better life.
SECRET 2: FUEL YOUR BODY WITH WHOLE FOODS.
To strategically fuel your body, focus on healthy meals and snacks that keep your blood sugar levels steady. That doesn't mean you can't indulge in high-glycemic carbohydrates. But you need to be strategic about when you eat these energy-robbing foods.
Whole foods for lunch on weekdays are best. This diet reduces the mental fog for afternoon projects. For example, if I'm craving a high-carb meal like spaghetti or pizza, I save it for dinner.
You might also say to yourself, "I'm going to skip lunch and get the work done today. That's counterintuitive. It's like trying to drive your car without stopping at a gas station. Your mental energy will wane, and the tasks will be more difficult.
If you have made a habit of skipping meals, change your mindset and keep healthy foods within reach. Chronic food avoiders can fill a drawer with healthy staples like popcorn, nuts and jerky. This quick fix will keep your energy levels steady on busy days.
SECRET 3: SAVE MENTAL ENERGY BY MAKING FEWER DECISIONS.
You make 35,000 decisions every day. Some people hoard decisions because it makes them feel powerful. That's a mistake. Learn to delegate decisions to your team. And don't second-guess everything your colleagues decide.
Save energy by choosing not to have a preference on everything. The higher up the food chain you go, the more responsibility you have for big, delicate, complex decisions. You can best use your mental energy for the big issues. The rest can be decided at the bottom of the ladder. Very successful people protect their brain power by reducing decisions.
And speaking of beer and wine: no alcohol during the week if possible, in order to be able to cope with possible CEO pitches.
Important: I have borrowed large parts of this article from Michael Hyatt. Michael is a successful author and has written, among other things, the book "Win at Work and Succeed at Life: 5 Principles to Free Yourself from the Cult of Overwork"