Work-life balance through energy management
Have you felt like there is not enough time in a day or felt overwhelmed with life or work? The feeling at times can be inevitable. I recently made an attempt to have more of a life balance. We live in a digital world, so I did what any millennial would do: I downloaded an app to help me manage and find some balance but rather than helping, it made the situation worse.
The truth is our pace is rushed and we try to cram as much as possible into every day. For me, it felt like I wasn’t doing things properly and felt like my world was falling apart. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the idea of energy management and feel I’ve personally found the answer to living a more balanced life.
What is energy management? Schwartz & Loehr, “mental trainers” to professional superstar athletes, pioneered it. The goal of energy management is to sustain our energy, achieve peak performance and gain greater work and life satisfaction. It applies sports training principles to the “Corporate Athlete.” It is further enhanced with the introduction of effective mental health counseling techniques. Here’s how to get started:
Evaluate your goals and values
You must define your values, driving purpose, passion, vision, and life satisfaction. Find five core values that drive you. For me it’s achievement, learning, stability, leadership, and personal growth. You can do a search for a list of core values or check your company handbook to see if they have a list of core values.
Then do a self-assessment on how your core values connect to your day-to-day life and personal goals. From there, learn to recognize and overcome roadblocks. You might have to give up certain things in your life that are not adding value to your professional or personal life. You might have to say “no” to things to be able to focus on your goals. I know it might be hard to say no – this is something I am working on, too. After, connect your core values to job goals and your company’s mission. Think about what you can do at work that will help align your core values? At this point, take some time to talk to your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or friend about your goals. Ask your self what will you keep doing and do you need to give up to achieve your goals? Keep in mind that you will have to reevaluate your values and goals from time-to-time.
Gently push past your comfort zone
Once you have evaluated yourself, you need to accept stress and welcome pressure to fully push our limits past our “comfort zone” for peak performance, growth and achievement. Monitor your burning of valuable fuel and taxing of our resources and mindfully stop to replace and repair. Work on the building of our four energy domains: biological, spiritual, cognitive, and psychological. We can create success by creating energy management “habits” and connect goals to our values.
Build your energy domains
Next, you'll need to build a strong foundation for your biological, spiritual, and cognitive domains. Start by increasing your physical strength by prioritizing proper hours of sleep. Practice positive nutritional habits and exercise regularly. We have to build physical strength, stamina, and have a strong immune system.
Build your spiritual energy by identifying core values and align them with your work and personal life. Demonstrate compassion daily, commit to a random act of kindness. You can volunteer or make time for activities that “feed the soul.” Work on psychological (emotional/social) energy by practicing “flexible optimism,” which can enable us to be realistic, as well as hopeful. Express appreciation to others, you can even start a gratitude journal. Create internal scripts in response to conflict or difficult stress-inducing situations. Ask yourself, “is this a catastrophe or an inconvenience?” “how will this matter in 6 months?” or “Regardless of the outcome, what can I learn from this?” One of my biggest challenges is learning to take control of negative emotions. Learn to expect and welcome setbacks.
The last energy domain is cognitive (mental) energy. Limit multitasking, harness technology, and mindfully reduce interruptions and distractions. One thing that really helped me was daily meditation; you can practice mental focus rituals.
Make your changes stick
Let values drive your energy-enhancing plan. Break your plan down into small steps and milestones. Mindfully schedule energy renewal activities. Commit by writing and telling others. Reward your progress until the new behavior becomes a habit. Expect challenges and setbacks along the way. Overall, give yourself patience and grace during these moments of transition.
Christopher Montoya is an administrative assistant for Wells Fargo's Regional Banking District Managers in the El Paso East and West Districts. He currently serves on the Young Leaders Society Advisory Board.