How to Maintain your energy levels
The average small business owner puts in a longer day than the average employee. The fall out from this is that many people who own their own business are worn out, tired and live in a constant state of jet lag. Is the solution better time management? I think not! Time management has been around forever and has not solved this problem. The new revolution in workplace performance is "Energy management". Personal energy levels are emerging as the new currency in the workplace. People need to consider what are they doing to amplify how much energy they carry into their business. Low energy levels cause us to unproductive, uncreative, overly emotional, difficult to deal with and have low tolerance for customers and staff. Here are 3 simple tips to maximise your energy levels that wont turn your lifestyle upside down.
1. Manage your glucose levels.
One of the things that impacts on our energy levels is the amount of glucose that we have in our blood. The reason for this is that our brain's exist on glucose and nothing else. Our brain makes up about 2% of our body weight however consumes more than 20% of the glucose that we ingest. The problem with this is that our glucose levels fluctuate during the day, in particular we see a slight drop at 11am and a huge drop at 3pm. How often do you get tired at 3pm? When our glucose levels are low we feel tired, cant focus, and generally our productivity stinks. When our glucose levels are high we are erratic, impulsive and often make mistakes. Obviously we are aiming for stable and steady glucose levels. Two things will help you to achieve this:
Eating every 4 hours
Having low GI foods
A classic trait of time poor busy people is that they are too busy to eat. When we skip meals our glucose levels begin to fall, therefore it is crucial to have regular meals during the day to stabilise our energy. Research tells us that eating approximately every 4 hours is an effective way to stabilise your glucose levels. This means that if you have breakfast at 7am, the next time you eat is 11am, then again at 3pm and finally at 7pm. What you notice is that this encourages you to have two lunches. Two lunches are you insaine!!! Yes two lunches. The return on this investment will be huge, and you will get back the time you spend eating back in productivity, ten fold over. Schools are now starting to get on this band wagon and they are starting to bring lunch forward to 11am. What they are finding is that their ability to focus and learn is far greater, and this is being reflected in improved test scores.
The next thing to look at is what you consume at these times. Often when we hit the 3pm slump we think "I need a sugar hit". So we inhale a can of coke, and enough lollies to sink the titanic. When all this sugar hits your blood stream your glucose levels sky rocket, your energy levels go through the roof however it doesn't last because insulin is secreted into your blood and it takes all the glucose out of your blood, and your glucose levels crash.
Your meals in the day should be low Glycemic Index (GI). What is GI, it is the rate at which food that goes in your mouth becomes glucose in your blood. The slower the better. Examples of low GI meals is;
Chicken salad sandwich.
Muesli and yoghurt.
2. Ease off regularly during the day.
When we work hard during the day we get stressed and our body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals has a negative effect on our energy levels; they wear us out and leave us feeling tired and lethargic. Stress is a sure fire way to kill your energy levels. So how can we control it? One mistake people make in stress management is that they put off relaxing to a time when they can take a lot of time out. For example most people work themselves to death thinking its ok "I have a holiday in 4 weeks I will relax then". What happens when they go on the holiday? They spend the first 5 days of the holiday sick in bed. We don't need to put off relaxation with the belief that we need large amounts of time to relax. Small moments of relaxation are just as effective as large breaks. So how do we do this? During the day allow for small moments of relaxation, we can relax in an instant. One of the easiest ways to do this is by slowing down our breathing. When we slow our breathing down our physiology shifts to a more relaxed state. Take opportunities in your day to sit still for 5 minutes, slow your breathing down and relax. It will put your brain and body in a better state.
3. Negative emotion:
Negative emotions like fear, frustration, resentment, worry and sadness kill your energy levels. If you want proof just think of the last time you went through a relationship break up, how much energy did you have around that time? One of the most important things you can do for your energy levels is to reduce the amount of your day that you spend in negative emotion. How do we do this?
One of the easiest ways to avoid negative emotion is to maintain a sense of perspective about what is important. So often during the day little things get us off course and we slip into negative emotion. Someone drives too slow in traffic and we drop our bundle, start to get angry yell and scream and spend the next 30 minutes thinking "how could they do this to me". This lack of emotional intelligence leads to a large amount of stress hormones cursing though our veins, that suck the energy out of our bodies. Do you really want to be that flippant with your energy levels? Start to be ruthless with your energy levels and don't waste them on small insignificant events that happen in our day. So build a bridge get over it and get back into positive emotion