Original article by TJ McCue for Forbes.com
The American Institute of Stress has found that 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42 percent say their coworkers need such help.
Statistics first thing in a post also do not usually help you stay focused on what I am trying to say about energy and productivity. Stress is the antithesis of energy. It reduces your energy.
Hang with me here because I want to make a connection between energy and productivity, you know, that holy grail of “getting more done.” More accurately, I believe that “more energy” leads to the kind of productivity we really want: Getting the right things done at work, so that we can maintain energy for the rest of our life – those things we want to do outside of work. I’m not sure I can call this a lifehack because it seems to be a bit of the anti-lifehack. Stop trying to do more and focus on doing right.
I want to get more done on all levels – from work life to personal life. Many of us just say, “If only I could get more done at work, I’d be more relaxed at home” and the above statistics prove that out to some degree. We are stressed. So, what does one of the top experts say about how to get more energy?
A Harvard Medical School article (link at end) is first on Google, 9 tips to boost your energy — naturally, and it has all the requisite, obvious health tips that we have heard before: Eat for energy (although they don’t say “eat a good breakfast”), exercise more, drink water. And at least one you may not have heard: Restrict your sleep. But the top two recommendations from Harvard Health, affirm the first statistics in this post:
- Control stress
- Lighten your load
Want To Have More Energy? Control Stress
Here’s what Harvard Medical School had to say about controlling stress: “Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy. Talking with a friend or relative, joining a support group, or seeing a psychotherapist can all help diffuse stress. Relaxation therapies like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi are also effective tools for reducing stress.”
How To Have More Energy? Lighten Your Load
Here is the big point I received from Harvard Health under their second point: “Try to streamline your list of “must-do” activities. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks. Pare down those that are less important.”
I know this is very much an “easier said than done” sort of idea, but some good lifehacks take more effort than others.
As I look around for tips on how to get more done, how to be more productive, I find posts on how to get more energy. It makes sense; physical and mental energy is connected to our productivity, of course.
I have to admit that I have been struggling with productivity lately; as in, I have not been very productive. Since I have been highly productive at many other points in my life, and since I am writing on productivity here on Forbes, I figured I should get my act together. Easier said or thought, than done. So I searched out “How To Get More Done” and up pops a terrific post from a former Forbes contributor and well known startup guy, Neil Patel.
I believe we are stressed at work because we are not getting the right things done. If you find you need an app to reduce stress, by increasing your calm, take a look at my post from May:
How To Increase Your Mental Health And Mindfulness With These Apps where I cited my favorite mental health expert, Amy Morin.
In addition to the mental health apps listed in my other post, many experts recommend break timers, simple reminders that pop up an alarm on your smartphone or computer to get you to take a break every 25 minutes or so. I’m working against the clock, actually, with two minutes left to finish this post on a “Tomato Timer” right now.
Check out these timer apps
Pomodoro Timer Lite on Google Play.
More Energy and Productivity Resources:
9 tips to boost your energy — naturally from Harvard Medical School.
Here are more stats on Workplace Stress – The American Institute of Stress that might help you reduce some of your own stress levels.
How I Get More Done 2 Days Than Most People Do In 2 Weeks by Neil Patel and he opens with: He spent time to figure out exactly where he was wasting time. He is a major data guy, after all. And he closes with: “One of the most advanced productivity techniques I’ve learned is energy management. Your energy levels go up and down during the day.” Find your best time to get hard tasks done. It may or may not be first thing in the morning.
Last resource that I found super helpful is a post from Thomas Oppong, Founder of AllTopStartups, on Medium: How to Get More Work Done in a Day Than Most People Do in a Week. Thomas puts forth: “When you build better routines, manage your energy, and work with your body instead of against it, you will complete work in less time, get more done each day, waste less time, find more free time, take control of your day, and lower your stress.” It is a worthy read.