“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” — Aristotle
I gave a talk on my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, to a small audience of about 50+ people, a couple of weeks back.
For some people, giving a talk in front of an audience would drain their energy.
For others, it gives them energy and makes them feel alive.
Energy is a personal thing.
The more you know yourself through self-awareness, and the better you manage your personal energy, the better you can manage your work and life.
In the book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams shares why he manages his personal energy as his one main metric to help him balance across all of his competing priorities.
Multiple Competing Priorities
We all have competing needs, wants, desires, and priorities.
“We humans want many things: good health, financial freedom, accomplishment, a great social life, love, sex, recreation, travel, family, career, and more. The problem with all of this wanting is that the time you spend chasing one of those desires is time you can’t spend chasing any of the others. So how do you organize your limited supply of time to get the best result?”
Maximize Your Personal Energy
One way to cut through to what counts, is to focus on energy as your main metric or your main way to help you survive and thrive among all of your competing priorities.
“The way I approach the problem of multiple priorities is by focusing on just one main metric: my energy. I make choices that maximize my personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities.”
Energy is Whatever Gives You a Positive Lift
Don’t complicate it or over-engineer it. Just think of energy as a positive lift.
“’Energy’ is a simple word that captures a mind-boggling array of complicated happenings. For our purposes, I’ll define your personal energy as anything that gives you a positive lift, either mentally or physically. Like art, you know it when you see it.”
Calm, Focused Energy
“When I talk about increasing your personal energy, I don’t mean the frenetic, caffeine-fueled, bounce-off-the-walls type of energy. I’m talking about a calm, focused energy. To others it will simply appear that you are in a good mood. And you will be.”
What The Dog Whisperer Teaches Us
Did you know that the fastest way to calm a dog is to calm the owner? Dogs read our clues.
“You might be familiar with a television show that was called The Dog Whisperer. On the show, Cesar Millan, a dog-training , helped people get their seemingly insane dogs under control. Cesar’s main trick involved training the humans to control their own emotional states, because dogs can pick up crazy vibes from the owners. When the owners learned to control themselves, the dogs calmed down, too.”
Energy is Contagious
People read our cues, too. You get what you project.
“I think the same method applies to humans interacting with other humans. You’ve seen for yourself that when you talk to a cheerful person who is full of energy, you automatically feel a boost. I’m suggesting that by becoming a person with good energy, you lift the people around you. That positive change will improve your social life, your love life, your family life, and your career.”
Manage Your Personal Energy for the Big Picture
Don’t stress out over managing your energy in a micro way. Think big picture and worry about your energy the macro way. Think about your overall day, your overall week, and your overall year. Take the longer term view, and look for little opportunities to move in a better direction overall.
“Managing your personal energy is like managing budgets in a company. In business, every financial decision in one department is connected to others. If the research and development group cuts spending today, eventually that decision will ripple through the organization and reduce profits in some future year. Similarly, when you manage your personal energy, it’s not enough to maximize it in the short run or in one defined area. Ideally, you want to manage your personal energy for the long term and the big picture. Having one more cocktail at midnight might be an energy boost at the time, but you pay for it double the next day.”
Maximize Your Natural Energy Cycles
Match your energy to the task where you can.
“My comic-creating process is divided into two stages to maximize my natural energy cycles. In the late afternoon and early evening my hand is steady. I’m relaxed from exercising and ready to do some simple, mindless, mechanical tasks such as drawing the final art for Dilbert or paying bills online. It’s the perfect match of my energy level with a mindless task. Without the exercise I wouldn’t have the attention span to handle boring tasks. i would be bouncing around from one thing to another and accomplishing nothing.”
You like you more when you are feeling your best.
Other people do too.
And if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
Do yourself a favor, and the rest of us, and manage your personal energy to bring out your best and let your brilliance shine.