Pacing Your Energy
Eight steps to get through the day
Even if you start out the day with plenty of fuel, you may eventually feel that energy slipping away. You can be zipping along just fine, then — Boom! — you hit what sports enthusiasts call “the wall.” How well you handle your energy budget will determine whether you get through the day, break through the wall and move on to the rest of your day, or just bounce off and slog through the mental mud. Try these tips to stay on the straight and narrow.
- Stand instead of sit. You’re not designed to sit for hours on end. Work regular physical movement into your work day, especially if most of your work is conducted at a desk. At the very least, stand up and stretch occasionally.
- Give yourself a break. Failing to take breaks can affect your short-term energy and long-term health. Take a few minutes off from the grind occasionally so your body can restore your strength and energy.
- Walk around on your breaks. Instead of drinking coffee and reading the paper while on break, walk around a bit. This lets your body process glucose better, giving you a burst of energy that’ll kick in about the time you get back to work.
- Try creative desk energy renewal strategies. Jobs requiring an intense focus can be intensely draining. Take an occasional break and renew yourself through meditation, deep breathing, prayer, stretching — whatever works for you.
- Find an encouragement partner. If you’re stuck with a boring task, find someone you can call up when you’re temporarily burnt out. You can perform the same function for your partner; encouraging them can keep you on track, too.
- Watch your posture. Don’t slouch. Doing so uses up more energy than sitting up straight, and can also stress your musculature and skeleton. Getting a good, ergonomic chair can go a long way towards maintaining your proper energy level.
- Pace yourself. Remember, you’re not a machine; don’t squander your energy early in the day, or you’ll fade by mid-afternoon. Rest is as important as hard work for achieving anything of consequence in a decent amount of time.
- Respect your biological cycles. No matter what you do, you’ll go through energy cycles during the day. Circadian rhythms, sleep cycles, hormone cycles, and similar biological clocks can all conspire to rob you of energy. Instead of trying to work through the low cycles, take a few minutes off to revamp your energy level.
No matter how often you might wish otherwise, you’re not a robot and can’t go non-stop, especially if you’re desk-bound for most of the day. Occasional breaks are necessary for mental and physical health. You need to get up and stretch your legs, to get your heart pumping and your blood circulating — or you just may start feeling rusty!