“What we actually do with our time from moment to moment, from hour to hour, from one year to the next, can be a very powerful influence affecting our general well–being and our ability to deal skillfully with the stress in our lives.”
Last week I attended a professional development class on managing stress and living with full engagement. Dr. Lynn Rossy, the instructor, has taught and researched mindfulness-based interventions targeting stress, pain, cancer, depression, and eating since 1999 and works for the university. Be sure to check out her site, Tasting Mindfulness.
Dr. Rossy pointed out that how we manage our “energy” – rather than time – is the key to performing our best.
She highlighted four areas that are key to high levels of energy:
- Physical capacity
- Emotional flexibility
- Mental endurance
- Spiritual strength
Paramount to this concept is an understanding of energy capacity. “You don’t want to expend too much energy without recovery or too much recovery without sufficient energy expenditure. Balancing engagement and recovery is critical to high performance both individually and organizationally,” wrote Rossy.
She suggests developing positive energy routines that become as automatic during your day as brushing your teeth. “By developing positive energy routines for managing energy we will be able to live more fully engaged and with sustained high performance in all areas of our lives.”
This really challenged my idea of managing stress. Could I help myself by changing the idea to managing energy?
The class was so good that I want to dedicate a few posts to the content. To start with, I encourage you to spend a few minutes on this Energy Inventory quiz from Rossy. It’s simple and easy, so no excuses! This is written mainly for a work environment, but you can easily adjust most of the questions if you are a student, mom, work from home, etc. Just take “at work” off of the question and answer as it relates to you.
Brief Energy Inventory
Rank each item from 1–5.
1 = Never or to a Very Small Extent
2 = Sometimes or to a Less than Average Extent
3 = Average
4 = Often or to a More than Average Extent
5 = Always or to a Very Great Extent
___ I have a high level of physical energy at work.
___ I get some physical activity daily.
___ I feel fully rested when I wake up.
___ I eat a balanced, healthy diet.
___ I take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes during work.
___ I feel happy and satisfied at work.
___ I get along with my boss.
___ I get along with my colleagues.
___ I feel that my successes are sufficiently acknowledged and recognized at work.
___ I feel confident at work.
___ I am able to focus and concentrate at work.
___ I feel more engaged and motivated than frustrated and aggravated at work.
___ I manage my time efficiently at work.
___ I feel organized and mentally prepared to do my work each day.
___ I am able to think clearly and logically at work even under conditions of high demand.
___ I feel a sense of purpose and meaning in my work.
___ I am passionate about some aspect of the work that I do.
___ I take actions at work which are consistent with my deepest values.
___ I feel my work is personally fulfilling.
___ I am able to truly leave work behind at the end of the day.
___ GRAND TOTAL SCORE (all four areas)
85 – 100: You are fully engaged and full of energy! Keep up the good work.
55 – 84: You’re about average, but you could feel a lot better. Work on the areas where you know you could improve.
21 – 54: You energy and productivity is less than adequate. It’s time to make significant changes in all four areas.
20: Your engagement and energy is on empty. Do something NOW to make steps in a positive direction. Your health and your job are at risk.