A lot of people mistaken being productive means managing their time well; however, this is just one part of the equation. Another important part is about managing your energy.
Think about it, would you be productive if you work 20 hours a day, but within these 20 hours are you feeling tired, sleepy, exhausted, and can’t focus at all?
I’d rather have 10 productive hours than to have 20 unproductive hours.
It is about quality and not so much about the quantity. Quantity only matters when you can maintain the quality and be productive all the time.
You see, we all have 24 hours a day. And no matter how much we manage our time, we cannot create extra time.
Thus, the key to being productive is not to create more time, we just can’t. The key to higher productivity and to get more done is through managing our energy.
When we have the energy, we can do more. When we are motivated, we can take more action. When we are energetic, we can work harder. When we are at a productive and at a creative state, we are unstoppable.
This is what we must aim for, to achieve optimum productivity throughout the entire day.
And in order to achieve maximum productivity, we need to manage our energy. This is what you are going to learn here.
So stop thinking about how to create more time or how to make time, you just can’t. No one can. However, we can learn to manage our state so that we can be at our most productive state to get the most important tasks done in our day.
Here are 7 techniques how you can manage your energy and maintain your productivity throughout your workday.
Use and apply whichever technique that appeals to you.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to conserve your energy and maintain your focus.
It is a simple technique that has many been used by many extraordinary people to achieve amazing results. You can do the same.
This technique is simple. Basically, it says that you focus and work for 25 minutes, and then you stop and take a break for 5 minutes.
After that, you continue to work for another 25 minutes and break for another 5 minutes. After a few sessions, you can stop and take a longer break, such as a 30 minutes break.
Many people have used this technique and customize it to suit their own schedule and work attitude.
As for me, I usually will work for about 50 minutes and then I will take a 5 to 10 minutes break.
Remember, we are talking about focused work. When you truly focus in your work, within a short 30 minutes period, you can get a lot done. You can write 500 words article or more if you truly focus on that period.
The Pomodoro Technique is great because it helps conserve and replenish your energy. When we work, we tend to use up our energy and willpower.
And whenever we stop and take a break, we recharge and replenish our energy. Some people called this technique as the “50-10-50” technique. They work for 50 minutes and break for 10 minutes.
Whatever you want to call it, apply this technique to your work and see how effective it can make your day productive.
As for the short breaks, usually I will just walk around the house, drink a cup of water, get to the balcony and daydream there, or simply eat some fruits.
You can get yourself a Pomodoro timer from Amazon. There are many choices for you to choose from.
You don’t have to get a physical timer if you don’t want to. You have your smartphone with you, right? Just type in “Pomodoro” and search for similar apps for free. There are plenty in the store.
You can also check out the desktop version here.
Install or get yourself a Pomodoro timer, use it throughout your workday and see if it is working out great for you.
2. The Power Nap
I used to think that taking a nap in the afternoon seems like a lazy person. But after reading the blog post and learning from Michael Hyatt, I changed my mind and thought otherwise.
Taking a power nap is not an act of a lazy person. In fact, it is the other way round.
First, a power nap is a short 10 to 30 minutes nap at most. Second, it reenergizes you and makes you refresh. Third, you can focus better and feel more alert after the nap. Overall, a power nap is like a short break that makes you more productive.
There are many extraordinary people used the power nap to achieve outstanding success in life. People like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Eleanor Roosevelt have been practitioners for taking naps throughout their workday.
Power nap should be short; it can be ranging from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.
If you sleep too long, you will fall into deep sleep and when you wake up, you will feel even more tired and groggy.
Therefore, keep the nap short. And the best time to do this is in the afternoon. Usually we used up most of our energy focusing on the important tasks in the morning.
And most people feel sleepy after lunch because their stomach has to work to digest the food they take in.
You can make the power nap into your daily habit. For example, you can take a power nap for 15 minutes every day at 230pm.
When this becomes your habit, you will fall asleep more easily. Apart from that, once you get used to power nap, you can wake up more productive because your body knows it is just a short nap to refresh yourself.
It may be difficult to sleep when you just started out. Just do it. Even if you can’t fall asleep, you can still recharge your energy by relaxing and closing your eyes.
So use power naps to maintain and manage your energy throughout your workday.
3. Schedule Your Play
Yes, I’m suggesting you schedule your play into your days. Studies have found that people who have play time in their workdays are more productive than those who work all the time without play.
I guess this saying is true, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Some people will say that their work is their play. Well, if your work is your play, then great, just continue with it.
However, if your work needs you to face the computer or doing the same thing the entire day, I think you will get burnout if you don’t schedule play into your day. Even if you have a strong passion for your work, facing the computer or doing the same thing the entire day will just saturate your mind and body.
Imagine if you love to eat chicken. It is your passion and you crave for it. Now, imagine that to eat just chicken for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for 30 days straight.
How would you feel?
The same goes for people who say that their work is their passion. Yes, you can love your work, like I do. I love to blog and share my ideas, but if you do it for long hours, it can still tire you down.
This is why play is important in your life. More importantly, learn to enjoy your work, have a passion for it, and at the same time, schedule plays into your workday to maintain your energy and prevent burnout.
Your play can be the family time that you enjoy, jogging for an hour, playing games for 30 minutes, read a book you like, etc.
The key is to get yourself out of the work cycle and do something different. When you focus on doing one thing for a long time, you will somehow lose your concentration and energy.
And thus, you need to do something else that will make you feel creative and refresh again.
This is why travel is important. It makes you more creative and injects freshness into your life.
The same principle applies for scheduling play into your workday.
Make your life fun and don’t be like Jack, the dull boy.
4. Stretching And Exercise
You should have known the importance of exercising and getting your body sweat. Our bodies are meant to move.
If your work requires you to stay in front of the computer or sit on the chair for long hours, this will be even more crucial.
There’s no way to achieve optimum productivity if you don’t have the physical health. If you always fall sick, feeling lethargic, and no energy, you should look into your physical health seriously.
Commit to exercise and get sweat. Laura Vanderkam, the author for “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”, discovered that most successful people spend their morning exercising.
- Xerox CEO, Ursula Burns goes for an hour-long personal training at 6am.
- Kevin O’Leary, the Shark Tank investor is up at 5.45am every day and jumps on his exercise bike.
- AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong starts his day with workout sessions as early as 5am.
Other extraordinary people such as Michelle Obama, Jeff Immelt, Indra Nooyi, the famous Richard Branson, and Jack Dorsey too, choose to exercise upon waking up.
And Laura said it in her book that these are extremely busy and successful people. And if they choose to exercise and get sweat in the morning, it must be an incredibly important activity to do.
Well, most successful people choose to workout and exercise in the morning. Not all prefer to exercise in the morning, but most did.
Hence, if you want to achieve the same amazing result and outstanding productivity, don’t you think that you should at least follow this habit and exercise as well?
So make it your daily habit to workout and exercise.
Choose to do something that you love doing. You can do yoga if you want to. You can swim or jog or workout in the gym. Whatever you do, exercise and move your body.
5. Keep Your Body Hydrated Throughout The Day
One of the secrets to staying productive throughout your day is to keep your body hydrated. This is especially true upon waking up.
When you wake up in the morning, your body has gone through long hours of dehydration because you don’t drink water when you sleep. Thus, the first thing you need to do once you get up is to drink plenty of water.
Do you know that almost 50% to 70% of our body is made of water?
Try to go through your whole day without drinking any water. See if you can still perform at your best. Chances are, you won’t.
Studies have shown that dehydration can make our performance drop. We can’t focus, we will feel dizzy and it makes us weak and fatigue.
Apart from that, drinking water can flush out unnecessary toxin within your body. People who drink sufficient water throughout their day feel more energetic and they have better concentration.
So how much water do you need to take in each day?
Expert suggests 8 glasses of 8-ounce water or 2-litre per day. Every morning before I start my work, I will refill my water bottle to 2-litre. And I know then I need to finish the water for the day.
That 2-litre did not include the water I take upon waking up. Plus, usually, I will finish the 2-litre before evening. I drink more during day time and less at night.
You don’t have to follow my routine. Just make sure that you drink enough water to ensure you can perform at your best.
When you’re tired or sleepy, take a shower and you will feel refresh and energetic, right?
The same thing can happen to your body tissues and functions when you drink water. You refresh your tissues and muscles. You make your body energetic and productive.
So drink more water and drink it throughout your day.
6. Injecting The Fun Factor
Another effective technique to maintain your energy for a productive workday is to make your work fun.
Inject the fun factor into your task and make it excited so that you will have more energy and looking forward to doing it.
Take me as an example. In the morning, my productivity is high and I can focus on my work without any problem. However, I will easily get distracted and lost my focus in the afternoon.
Therefore, I will schedule easier and more fun tasks in the afternoon. Sometimes I will even go to the coffee shops or Starbucks to do my work. Why?
I want to make things more exciting so that I can maintain my energy for my work.
Imagine your dream is to build a successful business. If you have to do all the work alone, you will never make it. You will feel bored, tired and there is no one there to support you when you needed it.
Furthermore, there is nobody to celebrate your win and go through the journey with you.
Now, imagine you are in a group of 5 great friends who are equally good and committed to achieving your dream, together. Do you think you will have more fun, more energy, more productive and more committed to doing it?
In fact, this is how most of the successful business started out. Apple started out from Steve Jobs, his good friend Steve Wozniak and a bunch of Jobs’ friends from the college.
The same goes for Richard Branson too. Arnold Schwarzenegger will never make it if he has to workout in the gym alone. He got a few of his good companions to workout along with him in the gym.
If it is no fun, you will never make it. Your mind will play tricks and you will procrastinate on your tasks. Your mind will feel bored and there’s no fun doing the work, so it comes up with other “creative” ways to sabotage your goals.
Now you know that the fun factor is important, but how are you going to make your work fun?
This is a subjective question. It depends on your work nature, your creativity and how you define fun.
I have shared with you my example. I make my tasks fun by changing my working environment. Others, like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson make their work fun by doing things in a group with like-minded people.
So how are you going to inject the fun factor into your work and your task? If you need more ideas, check out this article.
7. Create A Productive Workplace
Many people underestimated the importance of having a productive workplace. If you want to keep your energy high and maintain your productivity throughout the day, you should build a workplace a place you love to go to and work.
One of the reasons people hate to go to work because the company culture and the office environment do not support them.
They feel lousy, they don’t feel appreciated and they feel inferior. When this happen, the productivity and motivation of all the employees who are working there will drop dramatically.
This is why creating a workplace that will stimulate productivity and motivation are important.
Here are some tips that can help you create a better workplace environment:
- Let the natural light shines in
- Use the thermostat to maintain optimum temperature in the room. Too hot and you can’t concentrate; too cold and you won’t want to work.
- Prepare healthy snacks. Healthy foods are good to maintain your energy and boost your brainpower.
- Reduce noise level or play soft music when you work on creativity task such as writing. Increase noise level when your work requires energy such as selling. Ever wonder why are people making sales calls in a group? It’s about managing your energy.
- Declutter and organize the workplace. You will feel stress when the table is messy and there’s bunch of papers and documents waiting for you to go through. So keep your workplace clean and clutter-free.
- Make room for focus work without distraction.
- Encourage standing and more walking. Like what you’ve learned above, move your body to keep your productivity.
- Create a scoreboard for progress. Read this previous article to understand more about measuring your progress, Creating Your Scoreboard.
Make your workplace encouraging and supportive. Make it the best place so that you can’t wait to go to work the first thing in the morning. Make it a fun and productive place.
These are the 7 techniques how to manage your energy to make your workday productive.
Apply what the ideas you gained when reading. What can you do to maintain your energy throughout the day?
If you have any questions, do not hesitate and drop a comment below. Share this article if you like it.