By Petra Neiger, Marketing Advisor and Founder of Red Pantz
The entrepreneurial landscape is filled with companies looking to transform the way we create, distribute and consume goods and services. A simple Google search returns over 28 million results to the query “sharing economy.” Thanks to companies, such as Uber and AirBnB, which are frequently gracing the news, our love for creating, sharing, trading and consuming these experiences continues to grow… until we voluntarily or involuntarily remove the shared resource or object.
The Most Fundamental Resource We Share Every Second
The concept of sharing has been around since the beginning of time. We just don’t think about the implications of sharing our most fundamental resource: our energy.
Everything in the universe is energy. We play a dance of taking in energy and exuding energy all day long. When our energy reserves are up, we are on top of our game. When our energy reserves are down, we feel fatigued. Energy can come from physical, mental and emotional foods and experiences. They can nourish us and they can drain us. Next time you think about how you spend your day, think about it not so much in terms of managing your time but in terms of managing your energy.
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
The benefit of shifting your thinking to managing your energy is that it requires you to consider the value of each task or commitment relative to the energy you put into and get out of it. Essentially, the decision becomes a mathematical equation. In return, you’ll be able to better manage your time and improve your health.
Start building these 7 habits today to support your energy in healthy ways:
1. Begin with the end in mind
What do you want people to remember you for when you’re gone? Start there to find out what’s really important to you. When you make your values your priorities and align your energy to them, not only will you find greater satisfaction and happiness in life, but you will also be able to better prioritize your tasks and commitments.
2. Set a positive tone for your day
Positive emotions and gratitude are natural energy boosters. Try this exercise to fill yourself up with a friendly dose of energy before you start your day: upon awakening, keep your eyes closed. Pay attention to your breath and without changing it, recognize the depth, length and location of it. If your mind starts wondering, take a deep breath. Think of something positive, something that you desire and makes you happy, and visualize the effects of it coming true. Feel the pleasant vibrations this happiness is creating in your body.
3. Plan for sufficient downtime
Take breaks and get plenty of rest—both physical and mental. During the day, carve out a few minutes on your calendar every 90 or so minutes to get up and stretch, move or close your eyes. At night, get plenty of sleep! A fascinating experiment found that the mental and physical performance of participants who slept 6 hours a night for 2 weeks fell to the same level as if they had stayed awake for 48 hours straight, even though they believed that their performance levels were unaffected by the reduced sleep. Cost to businesses in the US: $100 billion per year. Check out more reasons why you should get enough sleep.
4. Watch what you put into your body
We get energy from the foods we eat. What we eat is just as important as when and how we eat. Lunch is the most important meal of the day as it’s consumed during the “digestive part” of the day, according to Eastern medical traditions. A nutritious, cooked meal boosts your nervous system, which you will need for your meetings and work in the afternoon. Otherwise, your energy will plummet and you will likely crave salty and sweet foods, or go for your second cup of coffee. Eat your lunch mindfully without any distractions to help with digestion and assimilation. Without proper digestion and assimilation, you can bid your energy farewell.
5. Watch what you put into your mind
What you put into your mind has a huge impact on your energy–both in terms of its quality and quantity. We perceive the world through our senses, and our senses work with our brain to process information. This means that the kind of movies or news you watch, the way you talk to people and the way they talk to you will send messages to your brain. These messages will create a biochemical reaction in your body based on your past experiences, beliefs and expectations. And you already know that positive emotions are natural energy boosters so make sure that what you perceive through your senses and process through your brain is positive as often as possible.
6. Shake it off
Unless you live under a rock, you’ll be exposed to unpleasant and unwholesome sensory stimuli. When you’re unable to eliminate negative factors from your life, learn to accept them. But don’t mistake acceptance for tolerance or denial. As long as you’re exuding negative energy, such as fear, hatred, jealousy or envy towards these factors, you’re hurting your own energy.
7. Pause before you act
Every action and interaction takes energy. In our fast-paced world, we often just “roll with things.” There’s a lot of value in pausing before acting. Speak when your speech brings value, not when your ego wants to prove itself. Listen to hear first, not to respond first. Take a step back and ask questions before aimlessly moving too far ahead. Protect your energy when dealing with difficult people.
Energy is a precious resource. Handle it with care so you can continue to share it for as long as possible.