Our mode of life today - constant stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep - leads to what scientists call exhaustion syndrome. The rest of us call it burnout. We continually push through each day, postponing the renewal time our brains and bodies need. By contrast, extraordinarily productive people consistently recharge.
Five Drives of Mental and Physical Energy
To maintain your ability to carry out your great purposes and make the day-to-day decisions that get you there, you need the sustainable physical energy that comes from a well-cared-for and well-functioning body to fuel the brain with lots of oxygen and a constant flow of glucose.
It's not just about exercise. Your body was meant to move. Take brain breaks periodically throughout the day. Get up from your chair at least every 90 minutes to walk around, even if it's just to the beverage area.
Just as you don't put dirt in your car's gas tank, you shouldn't put poor-quality food in your body. The idea is that when you fuel your brain with the right amount of whole, natural foods in regular intervals throughout the day, you provide your brain and body with a steady supply of glucose and other nutrients that help you function at your best.
Getting a good night's sleep is not just enjoyable, it is vital to extraordinary productivity. One study indicated that individuals who had gone 17-19 hours without sleep performed like someone with a .05 percent blood-alcohol level. Showing up at work sleep-deprived is like showing up drunk.
Learning to turn off the stress responses in our brain and act from a more centered, relaxed state can have a tremendous impact on our performance. Recovery strategies are as unique as the individual, and sometimes the right strategy is to reduce the load of work or even take some significant time off. Recovery and relaxation might be as simple as a 15-minute break to change your surroundings.
Spending time building and maintaining meaningful relationships is actually nourishing to our brain. We may not think of relationships as a way to increase mental energy, but they are. Not only is the brain wired for movement, but it is also an inherently social organ.
Don't Burn Out
Each of the 5 Energy drives is powerful in its own right. If you invest time in even one of them, you will get a quick and clear benefit. However, the real power comes when you have a regular pattern of life that honors all 5 Energy Drivers. When you have a healthy pattern of movement, eating, sleeping, relaxing, and connecting, you are strengthening yourself as a complete human being.
For more on Choice 5, watch this video with FranklinCovey's Global Productivity Practice Leader and lead author of The 5 Choices, Kory Kogon.
Invest your time, attention, and energy on your highest priorities. Register to attend a complimentary 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity webcast to learn how.