It’s a common belief nowadays that if someone puts in longer hours, they’ll become more productive and produce better results. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs support this argument by working as much as 16 hours per day. Reading this post will help you realise that working longer hours may not necessarily translate to success, and in fact it might be a blocking it.
The main reasons behind this is are that working longer hours may lead to increasing your stress levels and harming mental and physical health. It may even cause poor concentration levels and poor work quality. Essentially, it’s not about the amount of time you put into different tasks, but it’s about quality.
In order to better manage your mental and physical energy which will consequently result in better productivity, let’s see the four main sources of energy that can be a determining factor to someone’s success:
1. Your Body Stores and Produces Physical Energy
Our body is the main source for storing and producing energy on a constant basis. The three main ways we can increase physical energy in our body include: Healthy Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep. Unless you focus your attention on these three key areas, you will find yourself getting easily tired, having trouble managing managing your emotions and concentration levels, as well as be more productive.
So take the first step by (almost) never skipping breakfast, which health nutritionists consider as the most important meal of the day. Make sure to get a full night’s sleep by shutting down your phone at least two hours before bedtime. Finally, include regular exercise into your weekly routine in order to maintain high energy levels.
2. Recognise The Quality Of Your Emotions
If you want to produce quality output in whatever you do, you must feel good. If you are overwhelmed with feelings of negativity or even sadness, it’s more likely that you will be ineffective. This is quite a challenge as we are often faced with long hours at work and the need to deliver multiple job demands on time. As a result, we sometimes tend to dive into negative emotions multiple times a day, especially when faced with stress and anxiety.
The constant mental strain that we involuntarily put our mind to can drain our energy, impact our progress and even affect our personal relationships. Three actions you can practice to fight against negative emotions include: Deep breathing, Appreciation, and Getting out of the mental loop. Let’s quickly look at them one by one.
- Deep breathing will help you relax and calm down during a stressful situation. Simply inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Mindful breathing can instantly reduce your stress and ‘on-edge’ levels.
- Expressing appreciation for the things and people we have in our lives can help us build positive energy. Try and avoid engaging in gossip or criticizing other people as it may lead to increased tension or even anxiety.
- Get out of mental loops that may be caused from daily events or situations. A situation is only negative if we perceive it to be. If something bad happens, we tend to consider ourselves as the victims by playing the story in our mind over and over again. May such an event happens, try to find something positive about it.
“You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.” – Rene Descartes
3. Focus Your Mind Energy On Positive Thinking
Our mind is the reason behind the mental power we need in order to do and enjoy tasks. Thinking in a positive way can result in positive outcomes like healthy relationships, successful career progression and even good physical health. Similarly negative thinking can result in negative results and ‘sad’ behaviour. In order to be more productive, it’s important that you use the power of your mind by saying no to distractions and doing activities that have a long term benefit.
Eliminating all distractions while you work is the first step to getting into ‘the zone.’ Simply focus on one thing at time – preferably, start with the most important ones. Multitasking will interrupt the flow of quality work. So try avoiding distractions from other people or mediums and switching from one task to another while working.
Focus on tasks and activities that will have some kind of long term benefit. This can include learning a new technical or soft skill or even building your professional network. Building up the ability of thinking long term will be something that your future self will thank you for.
It’s essential that you work on something that you love. Avoid getting trapped in a career path that doesn’t complete you. It is worthy to note though that your job may not always be as exciting as you would expect it to be, and that’s normal. But the majority of it should ideally be fulfilling and give you the happiness and motivation you need to become more productive.
To follow our passion in a purposeful way, we need to always have three defining factors in mind. We should be doing the work we love and are best at; allocate time to important aspects of our lives, and put our values in practice on a daily basis.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony
Think of past professional experiences and find moments when you felt the happiest along with the most inspired and naturally engaged with what you worked on. For those example experiences, identify what talents stood out and helped you thrive. If planning was the defining attribute for example, adopt a daily personal ‘ritual’ that will help you plan even more when at work.
Spending time for your career progression is important, but try to never forget that it’s equally important to spend time with family, exercise, and give back others. Finally, get closer to your life purpose by aligning your everyday work with what you value the most. If work really matters to someone, they are most likely to feel positive energy and focus better while persevering through hard times.