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Productivity / Performance

The energy equation

The big end of town have long claimed that you have to spend money to make money. I’ve come to realise the same is true with energy. Here’s what I’ve learned about the energy equation.

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With all the demands of modern life, it’s hard to get enthusiastic at the idea of expending energy. But there are some things, which, on completion, leave you feeling more energised than before.

Here’s some examples of things that give a good return on your energy investment: 

Exercise Yes, that old chestnut. A workout is sure to put you in a good mood. Paradoxically, the less you feel like doing it, the better you’ll feel afterwards. Exercise can be boring, until you find The Thing that you like to do. Find The Thing. Do it.

Spend time with stimulating people Peter wrote about avoiding meetings with messers – good advice, for sure. But there are people whose engagement lifts you up. Mentors, partners, friends, the takeaway owner… get chatting with whoever it is that floats your boat.

Perform a kind gesture It could be something simple, like offering up your seat on the bus. Or it could be a more involved task like offering expertise to a community group. There are endless ways to lend a helping hand, most of which will leave you with a spring in your step.

"For all the time management articles on Flying Solo, the advice could be crystallised in a single sentence: Stop letting email rule your life."

Want more articles like this? Check out the performance section.

Perform a kind gesture for yourself Get a massage, go for a swim, head out for some retail therapy… you’ll know what you need to do. This is important because firstly, no-one likes a martyr, and secondly, there’s a reason that plane safety announcements say to sort your own life jacket out before helping others.

Here are some ways to sap your energy big time:

Email I joke with Robert and Peter that  Do you REALLY need to check it first thing in the morning and last thing at night? Aren’t ablutions more important?

The Internet & TV Okay, I admit some of it is uplifting and edifying. The other 99.9% is not worth your energy.

A book you’re half way through and not enjoying. Put it down! You’ll never get to read all the books in the world, so why persevere with a rubbish one?

Post a comment to let us know what energy investments you’ve made of late. 

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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