LQ Partner Annie Perrin has been helping organisations and teams make the most of their inner resources for more than 12 years. In this post she shares her top tips for managing mental energy.
Last week, I shared why taking time to rest and recover is critical to maintaining high-performance – especially when facing heavy demands on our time and resources. I also talked about the four dimensions of energy – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional.
In this post, I’m focusing on mental energy – which is key, because it’s the primary way we add value at work. Our energy flows where our focus goes. With today’s steady stream of distractions, we need to be much smarter about managing our mental energy.
With that in mind, here are my top four tips.
- MULTI-TASKING IS A MYTH. The brain isn’t capable of two cognitive tasks at once. The most efficient way to get things done, at a high level, is to focus steadily on one thing at a time.
- DO THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FIRST. Set aside 60-90 minutes first thing in the morning to do your most important work. It’s easier to get high value work done in the morning, when you are fresher and there are fewer distractions. Once you get these high value-added tasks done, it fuels you with positive energy as you head into the rest of the day.
- GET RID OF THE GREY AREAS. When working, be fully engaged; when not working be fully disengaged. When we are half-in and half-out, we are not working or resting efficiently. It is much better to truly disconnect – even for short periods of time – to get the most bang for your buck, and return to work fully rested.
- QUIETEN YOUR MIND. Have regular periods where you disconnect from technology to quieten your mind and give your thinking brain (left hemisphere mode) a break.
In our next blog post, we’ll look at spiritual energy – deeply personal, this form can be derived in many ways, but essentially relies on purpose and meaning, and alignment with individual values.
Until then, I leave you with a quotation from acclaimed classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein:
“I handle notes no better than many others. But the pauses; that is where the art resides.”