Key Learning Outcomes

  • Assess your energy levels so you operate effectively for most of the day.
  • Complete our seven-day energy log template so you can carry out an in-depth analysis of your energy levels.
  • Identify trends in your energy levels and the impact of behaviours such as eating, exercise, sleep and water consumption on these levels.
  • Implement changes to minimise periods of low energy, and identify the need to repeat the log from time to time to ensure you maintain high levels of energy throughout the day.

Article

Most of us have peaks and troughs in our energy levels throughout the day. Look around the workplace or think about family and friends. How many people you know are morning people and how many are not? The fact that we are all different makes the world go around, and in a perfect world we would all be able to work to our own schedule, sleeping until noon and working at 3.00am if that suited us. However, as we are not a nocturnal race, the majority of humans feel more comfortable working during daylight hours and sleeping during the night. This means that for the majority of us we need to manage our energy levels so we operate effectively for most of the day.[wlm_ismember]

When are you at your peak? 

The first step is to determine when you are at your best during the day and when you feel you are flagging a little. We have designed the Absolute Best energy log to allow you to monitor your energy levels over the course of a week. It is a simple system where you mark your energy level for each time period throughout the day, depending on how you feel. We find it is best to mark yourself on a scale from 1-10 as seen below with 1-3 being low energy, 4-6 being average energy and 7-10 being high energy levels.

We also find it is helpful to look at how much sleep you are having each night, how much water you are drinking, when you are exercising and what time you ate meals during the day as this allows for a more in-depth analysis. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you complete the log during a week when you are feeling well, as no one reaches peak energy levels when they are sick.

Following is an example of a completed energy log completed by Bob. You will find that the template allows for a seven-day log. We have used just five days here as an example.

Managing-Your-Energy-Levels
Analysing the data

When checking the log, look for trends. This will allow you to continue with the behaviours that contribute to high energy levels during the day and also to modify those that are driving down your energy levels. We can see in Bob’s log that there are certain behaviours that cause peak or troughs in his energy levels.

Meals – It is well known that eating regular meals will assist in keeping your energy levels high. Looking at the example log we can see that on most days Bob starts the day with breakfast and consequently the mornings are high energy. He seems to be eating lunch too late in the day and you can see from the log that this is affecting energy levels adversely through the middle of the day and during the afternoon. On the days where he has a mid-morning snack, energy levels are sustained for a little longer. Bob should make the effort to have lunch earlier in the day or alternatively plan for small meals regularly throughout the day. Be mindful of what you are eating as a heavy meal will mean that your body will need to use all of your energy for digestion rather than for other activities.

Exercise – Adding some regular exercise into the week will give you more energy in the long run. You can see from Bob’s energy log that he exercised in the morning on Monday and Wednesday. Both of these days had periods of high energy during most of the day.

Sleep – Getting enough sleep is important for everyone, as sleep is when our bodies repair and renew. How much is enough varies from person to person, but the longstanding belief that eight hours is ideal is probably not too far from reality for most of us. You will see on the energy log that on Wednesday night Bob had less than the ideal quantity of sleep. He obviously went out in the evening, snacked at 11.00pm and then only got six hours sleep. The result of this was that Thursday was a very low energy day. You can see in the log that while he ate regularly and did consume a large amount of water, the lack of sleep and potential dehydration from alcohol had a significant impact on energy levels during the day.

Water – Dehydration is one of the key factors that can affect your energy levels throughout the day. We can see from Bob’s energy log that he drinks more water on the days when he exercises, which may also contribute to higher energy on those days. Looking at Friday, very little water was consumed, the morning exercise was missed and energy levels flagged as the day went on.

Making changes

Once you can see some trends in your own log you can start to make some modifications to your behaviours in order to minimise the periods of low energy during the day. For Bob we would make a few key suggestions as follows:

Scheduling 

After you have made some changes we suggest redoing the log to see how you going and then repeat this process from time to time. You will probably find that no matter what, you will have slightly higher energy either in the morning or the afternoon. Once you understand this you can schedule appointments or important activities at the times when you are likely to have higher energy levels. Completing this log is also a great activity to carry out with your team. It will give you a better understanding of them and also will allow you to guide them so they achieve higher levels of productivity throughout the day.[/wlm_ismember]

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