This time of year comes with both good and bad news – yes, the festive season is upon us and brings with it the promise of a well-deserved vacation but by now, you would have also realised that taking time off means first wrapping up an enormous workload and then returning to a backlog of additional deadlines.
If you’re putting in extra hours to reach year end, I’m here to tell you that this is this only going to leave you feeling burnt out and demotivated. Yes, 2018 has been incredibly demanding but 2019 promises to be no easier – and your pending beach trip will soon become a distant memory as you navigate increasing pressure in the new year.
The more you take on, the more you are going to need to do – and with limited time, you’re not going to be able to achieve more than you are already. It’s time to change the way you are working so that it starts working for you. It’s time to learn how to manage your energy.
This may seem limited at the moment, thanks to over-sleeping, over-caffeinating and over-working but if you get it right, it becomes an unlimited resource that allows you to play to your strengths and sustain peak performance.
Unlike time, energy expands when you focus on nurturing it – or rather the components that make it up: your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Harvard Business Review cites several case studies where greater energy made it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability. The key is to start by recognising what rituals and behaviours are depleting your energy and then to work on changing them as quickly as possible so that they become the habits that drive your actions.
Of course, now you’re nodding that this all makes sense but thinking to yourself that you simply can’t get to this at year end, when work is just so busy. Let me ask you this – if you are prioritising work as a sprint that you need to reach the end of, why are you treating the rest of your life like a slow-paced marathon? This long-trek will most certainly burn you out, if your job doesn’t push you over edge first. You need to refocus your efforts around sprints – and then recovery periods.
There’s no time to wait for the ever-elusive moment where you make – and keep – your New Year’s resolutions. If you are pushing yourself harder than ever and feel increasingly closer to breaking point, this is not going to change until you do – and if it seems too overwhelming to change your entire existence in one go, start with one small, achievable step at a time.
In fact, let me make it even easier for you, given that you are so busy – start with exercise. As Forbes reports on, out of all the positive habits you can form, this is the one that has the greatest impact on all the other areas of your life. It’s the habit that helps you to create other good habits because it amongst its many benefits, it enhances your mental state, makes you want to eat better and improves your sleep. Tick all those boxes and you are guaranteed to start feeling more energised.
Success is not something you stumble upon. It takes habitual hard work – but this doesn’t have to mean long, depleting hours. Start now, maximise your vacation time by really focusing on solidifying good habits and return to work ready to take on the new year in a new way. Where others will still be resolving to do better, you will be sprints ahead – and this will give you even more breathing space to really recognise what race you need to be running.
I’m talking about having the time to be fully present – knowing what your purpose is and where best to focus your efforts, being able to step back and evaluate what is worth saying yes or no to, understanding what drains you and sustains you – and then doing more of the latter. These are the ultimate keys to unleashing your energy, performing at your absolute best and ensuring a knock-out year in 2019, when everyone around you is just feeling knocked-out.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop wasting time – on your marks, get set, go!