“We have to find the tactics, hacks, and shortcuts to create more time!”
I don’t know about you, but all I hear when I read this is Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Blah blah blah blahhh”.
We live in a day where efficiency, productivity, and hacking are the most in demand topics. We want to dial in our time management to take advantage of every second we are allotted. We can’t get it back, can we?
We have this all backward. We can hustle and grind and push ourselves as hard as we can, but trying to keep up with GaryVee at his game isn’t the answer. How can we create our most impactful days?
We must learn how to manage our energy first, so that we can show up our best at each meeting, appointment, or function we have that day. This leads me to question, what habits give us the highest returns in physical and mental energy? What can I incorporate into my day that will exponentially improve how I feel and how I manage my day?
Lifting Heavy, HIIT, and Walking
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” -Jim Rohn
Let me first start this section by saying ANY exercise is better than none, but these three are the three legged stool of longevity and energy management.
The great Charles Poliquin writes, “The more muscle you have, the greater number of insulin receptor sites, which equals better use of energy in the body. Naturally, you’ll have less risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or metabolic syndrome.”
Focusing on the big compound lifts, such as squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, and even olympic lifting forces you to use many of your major muscle groups.
The next time you go for your morning jog, imagine a cheetah is chasing you for 20 seconds and then walk for 10 seconds. Repeat this for 5 minutes and your “jog” is over. HIIT is the most bang for your buck workout method, because of the energy systems it recruits, it’s ability to kick fat in the face, you don’t need any equipment and a relatively small space. “HIIT will not only improve body composition, it may extend your life. The Harvard Alumni Health Study, a 4-year study of more than 17,000 men, found that only vigorous — not moderate — exercise reduced risk of death.” –Precision Nutrition
Take A Walk:
There are many reasons walking is a valuable habit to implement into your daily routine, increasing your energy is one of them. Stephen King credits many of his book ideas to going on daily walks. Walking is the lowest buy-in activity to increase your physical activity and something you can do while you’re working throughout the day. Any chance you can, include some walking. You can walk during meetings, phone calls; maybe a morning or evening walk to bookend the day.
Time Restricted Feeding or Intermittent Fasting
TRF and intermittent fasting not only create an easier schedule to stick to throughout the day, it can even lead to greater focus and productivity. TRF has been shown to increase BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which directly relates to learning and memory (study). This allows you to dial in to whatever task is in front of you.
Many great works and great leaders have included some form of TRF into their everyday protocols. General Stanley McCrystal is famous for only eating one meal a day. Many people explain that they feel an extreme clarity when they are in a fasted state and get a ton of work done.
Sleep, Meditation, and Recovery
It goes without saying that the quality of your recovery directly correlates to the quality of your energy throughout the day. We’ve all stayed up past 2am, only to have to wake up and go to work the next day. The struggle was real…(I hate myself for writing that).
Sleep is another one of those “I know I should do this” habits that we don’t prioritize until it’s too late. The NFL has made sleep a priority, sometimes handing a player a playbook of when and how they should sleep. We should prioritize this restorative time by including some form of “power down” routine where we don’t spend hours in front of a screen then try to catch some Zzz’s.
Increasing physical energy is a priority, but increasing our mental energy and ability to handle stress is equally imperative. Meditation allows us to step back and observe our thoughts, emotions, and stressors in life. Even just 10 minutes to start the day can lead to greater insight and control throughout the rest of your waking hours.
Adding naps and moments where you can actually be bored is an overlooked way to increase our energy levels. Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or drained?Don’t hesitate to hit the “pause button”, take a 30 minute nap or go for a boring walk.
When was the last time you were just silly for the sake of being silly? Or laughed so hard it made you feel like your abs were getting a workout? We become so consumed in our everyday grind that we forget to enjoy our lives.
Be like James. Have some fun. Get creative and allow yourself to play!
Eating Protein, Fat, and Fruit/Plants
Whether it seems like it or not, eating well is a habit. Trust me, I’ve been there.In my early 20’s all I could think about was what I was going to eat from Chick Fil A later that day. That’s not even an option for me now, and not because I am using willpower or trying hard. Eating real whole foods is a habit that I enjoy and gives me life. Just walking around a farmer’s market rejuvenates me and gives me a fresh shot of physical and mental energy.
Not only that, but creating better health through nutrition is the foundation of physical health. What you put in your body today will be how you feel tomorrow. Do you hit a wall around 2pm, most likely that is due to poor diet choices. Do you find yourself crashing after most meals? Too many unrefined carbs and sugar. Dialing in your diet with the proper food that fuels you is the quickest and most important way to increase your energy.
Focused Self Development
Never let a day go by that you don’t actively pursue a better future you. Whether it’s reading for 20 minutes in the morning or touching base with a coach or mentor during the day. Actively improving yourself and reaching for your goals will skyrocket your mental energy and keep you feeling good about where you are heading.
“The world’s most successful people are intense learners. They are hard readers. They know that what they know determines how well they see the world. They know that what they know determines the quality of relationships they can have and the quality of work they can do.” –Benjamin P. Hardy
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” -Cicero
Every day, some of the most successful people on the planet send gratitude into the universe in some form. They might write three things they are grateful for in a journal, think of those they are grateful for, or email or text someone to say “thanks”. Putting your spirit in a grateful state increases your energy and attitude for the rest of the day.
Time Spent with Loved Ones
We all have those people in our lives that just lift us up. We spend time with them and always leave feeling better than we were before. Lean into them, let them lift you up, and do the same for them. Tell them you appreciate them.
Build these habits into your week and watch your energy elevate to levels that will sustain you. You definitely don’t have to do each of these every day, pick one or two and see what happens. We all want to perform and show up our best in everything we do, and we can only do that when we become intentional about managing and improving our energy.
CALL TO ACTION
Want the meal template that I used to create the high energy habit of healthy eating? Get it here. It’s helped me lose over 40lbs and keep it off for years…