Sales Training – Understand your Energy – Optimise your Life
Understand your Energy – Optimise your Life
Energy as defined in Physics is the capacity to perform work. With this awareness, now ask yourself, “How much energy do I have right now”? If you are feeling de-energised or tired, you obviously understand that you will not be able to perform the crucial tasks you need to carry out daily, at the level or intensity, you need to, in order to achieve the results you want. Energy is effectively the fuel in your tank and is the crucial element necessary for you to bring your skill and talent to life. Your energy is effectively made of four crucial elements, namely physical energy, spiritual energy, emotional energy and mental energy. I am focusing this article on optimising your physical energy as this is the core element and the one element of energy, which can positively or negatively affect all the other areas of energy in our body.
The physical energy component of our energy is the one we probably understand the best, but is also the one we tend to neglect the most. We are all in sedentary type jobs and as such, we do not see the direct need for physical energy at all. The reality though is that, if you have insufficient physical energy, it influences all the other dimensions of energy and as such your performance is reduced. Your physical energy affects the way you feel, reduces your ability to focus and also affects your level of motivation as well. It is thus crucial that you get the physical energy component working effectively, before you can improve any of the other areas of energy and get them to operate at their highest levels.
Optimising your physical Energy
There are four crucial elements you need to work on, if you want to optimise your physical energy. These are sleep, nutrition, fitness and daytime rest and renewal. Optimising your performance is not about being able to expend as much energy as possible for extended periods. It comes from your ability to understand your body’s rhythms and to expend energy in alignment with these.
This means that to optimise your performance, in alignment with its rhythms, you need to expend very high levels of energy for finite periods of time, followed by periods of rest and rejuvenation. This allows your body to perform at its best, as it is working optimally, aligned with the natural rhythms within the body. All the research I have studied clearly shows that the body functions best, when it works in a wave or rhythm, between expending and recovering of energy, as opposed to what a machine does, where it operates consistently and expends energy continuously.
Understanding the rhythms, which affect us.
We are designed to operate within the circadian rhythm, which means that we sleep when it is dark and to are awake during the day. There is however a second period of time when our bodies need to sleep during the day, to align with its natural rhythms and that is between about 1 and 4 pm every day. This period of the day is a time we go into what is commonly referred to as the circadian trough, which is the lowest point of energy, which we hit during any part of the waking day. As you know by your own rhythms, this is the time of day that your body is screaming at you for a short power nap.
As your current jobs and culture do not allow you to enjoy a power nap at this time of day, you override this natural need, by drinking copious amounts of coffee or taking other stimulants, to push through, this natural rhythm. All this does is drum up your stress hormones, like adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline, which cause you to operate well below your optimal levels of performance for the entire afternoon.
I know it flies in the face of everything you have been taught and seems counterintuitive, but if you can make time for a very short power nap, every afternoon, you will improve your performance dramatically every day. This nap should be no longer than 30 minutes and can even be as short as 10 minutes. This short nap supports your physiology and all the research I have studied, has clearly shown that there are huge productivity benefits, which flow from this practice.
In the three hours following a power nap in the afternoon, you are far more efficient and effective as you are vastly more cognitive, rested and awake.
The next rhythm, you need to understand and use to optimise your physical energy and performance every day is the ultradian rhythm. This is a rhythm, which operates in 90 minute segments throughout the day. You may never have heard of this rhythm, but I am sure you have felt it. As you know, you operate best when you are focused on completing one task at a time, working for a sustained but limited period of time. The reason why you operate best under these circumstances, means that you are aligned with the natural ultradian rhythm and so your body operates optimally.
Making the Ultradian Rhythm work for you
I know I have suggested that you plan your day the night before and that you tackle your most difficult task, first thing in the morning. This is not something I have intuitively come across and seen to work, it is based on the science of the body and a clear understanding how we operate at our best. Without going into too much detail, it should be clear that, our energy levels are at the highest, first thing in the morning, so this is obviously the time of the day, you should tackle, your most important or difficult tasks.
Selecting the most important activity
When selecting the activity, during your planning the night before, ask yourself this simple question
“What is the one most important activity, if I tackled it first thing in the morning and got it out of the way, would add the most value to my day”? This is the task I want you to schedule, first thing in the morning and get out the way, when your energy levels are at their highest.
To optimise the rest of your day, after using your first 90 minutes to get the toughest or most important task out of the way. Break your day up into 90 minutes segments with planned rests of about 5 – 10 minutes after each intense period of effort, focus and concentration. This will allow you to align with the ultradian rhythm and as such you will get the most from your physical energy every day. The 5 – 10 minute rest periods I am referring to are as simple as a chatting to a friend about trivial things, to relieve the tension, small bursts of exercise, like a walk or a few jumping jacks or just meditate.
Now that you have an understanding of how your body works best and the rhythms, which affect it, try to work with these rhythms and you will immediately see a huge improvement in your effectiveness and productivity.
Author: Andrew Horton Sales Training
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