Happy Year of the Horse!
In my work I often discover useful resources (books, articles, videos, techniques, tools, and programs) that I share in workshops, with coaching clients, or with HR partners. I’m pleased to be able to share these resources with you in my monthly newsletter, True Insights. To help you start off the New Year right, today’s True Insights is about the link between the way you maintain your health and your performance on the job.
I have a friend who works as a trainer in Shanghai. The first time we met, he told me that one of his focus areas is Energy Management. When I heard this I thought, “Isn’t energy management really simple? Sleep, exercise, eat well, and manage stress. How can there be a full day workshop on this subject?” Over time I have discovered how wrong I was to assume that energy management is a simple or unimportant topic.
About three years ago, one of my coaching client opened up to me about the frustration he felt at not having any time for himself, and the stress he felt every day. Together, we decided that the best solution to these problems was to make time to exercise and rest each week. With such a busy, high pressure life, it was critical for him to manage his energy. We created a plan where he scheduled 60 or 90 minute “appointments” in his Outlook calendar two or three days a week when he would be off-site and not reachable.
He would either exercise in the gym or go to a bookstore to browse and listen to music. His decision to make exercise and stress management a high priority had a very positive impact on his happiness and energy levels, and he will tell you that the benefit to his work performance has been worth the time he invests in managing his energy.
Energy Management and Performance
For most of us, the challenge isn’t understanding the importance of energy management. The real question is how to organize your life and manage your energy in a way that allows you to perform your best every day. When you’re busy, that isn’t an easy task to accomplish. But if you want to do your best work, you need to create and follow an energy management plan.
One of my favorite resources on this topic comes from Dr. Alan Watkins, a brain scientist who applies his knowledge to the field of performance coaching. Dr. Watkins talks about the direct link between your physical health and energy and your performance on the job. His talk has motivated me to take better care of myself through higher quality rest, smarter nutrition, and more frequent exercise.Here are links to his short talk from a TEDx Portsmouth event in 2012, “Being Brilliant Every Day”:
Small Changes Yield Big Rewards
One more tip that has been valuable to me is to take the advice of Tom Rath, author of a recently published book called Eat, Move, Sleep (Mr. Rath is also the author of a popular book among our HR partners called Strengths Finder 2.0).
TomRath’s advice is to make small changes in the way you manage your energy and health every day. These changes are more accurately choices you make, and they make a very big difference in your health over the long-term.
Examples I’ve personally implemented include: Walk instead of drive or ride, whenever you can. Even a ten minute walk a few times a day makes a big difference. Eat one piece of fruit in the afternoon instead of a salty or sweet snack. Learn to enjoy black coffee, without sugar or cream. Get up and move every 20-30 minutes instead of sitting for long periods. Go to bed earlier than usual and read for a few minutes before bed in order to fall asleep quickly. The cumulative effect of these changes over time is a healthier body, more energy, better performance, even a longer life.
Here is a link to Eat, Move, Sleep in English.
I hope you find these resources useful and that you experience the kind of increased energy and performance gains I have experienced since I started making changes in the way I manage my health.
Yours in learning,
True Development Co., Ltd.