**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: Book about how important it is to manage energy levels instead of time. One of their principles**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: Book about how important it is to manage energy levels instead of time. One of their principles is to develop highly specific positive energy rituals that help sustain full engagement. The steps you have to take to build a habit are to 1. define purpose, 2. face the truth, and 3. take action
One of the guiding principles behind the book is that rest and recuperation must be built into training/work. Specifically, most people have a problem with either overtraining or undertraining in relation to their level of rest. The analogy is to live life like it is a series of sprints rather than a marathon (and train accordingly). A major part of this training regimen is to expending energy beyond our regular capacity and then recovering (short-term discomfort for long-term reward).
As with many similar books, they describe the 4 levels or areas in which we must oscillate our energy use and recovery: physical, emotional mental, and spiritual. They also argue that it is important to subject ourselves to build ourselves up in each of these areas just like we build up muscles. We must expose ourselves to stress beyond our normal limits and then recuperate in order to improve in our ability to cope.
For physical energy, they advise healthy eating, high levels of breathing, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. They also suggest 5 to 6 highly nutritious meals a day with lots of water. Energy breaks to recover every 90 to 120 minutes are important for productive and energetic days. Lastly, interval training (where you push yourself and then break quickly) are more effective than steady-state training (where you keep the same pace for long periods of time).
For emotional energy, they suggest learning to fuel our positive emotions with self confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness, and empathy. Summoning positive emotions during periods of intense stress is at the heart of effective leadership. Again, they suggest pushing ourselves in these domains and then spending sufficient time recovering doing activities that allow us to relax and recuperate.
For mental energy, they suggest training mental muscles through mental preparation, visualization, positive self talk, effective time management and creativity. Taking mental breaks during the day from tough tasks is just as important as taking physical breaks. Extending work periods causes mental stagnation and breakdown rather than "powering through" slow periods.
Spiritual energy is less precisely covered, but the basic idea is to incorporate and attach deeply held values and beliefs to daily tasks (beyond our self interest). Expanding spiritual capacity involves pushing past our comfort zone in the same way that expanding physical capacity does.
One of the most important techniques they discuss for building up energy levels is through the development of habits and rituals. These allow us to free up important resources for self control and goal attention by allowing us to center ourselves when our energy gets depleted or we get stressed. Habits don't require resources, so we can use them to build us up on a regular basis. A simple ritual that connects us to our purpose (professional, personal, etc.) each day allows us to see the forest instead of just the trees from day to day. (e.g., quiet reading time in the morning, book of Proverbs, journaling, praying, meditation, reading over personal mission statement, etc.).
Our intentions should be framed as "doing" statements instead of "not doing" statements. We should also work in incremental changes since it is difficult to change entrenched behaviors quickly. "Charting the course" every day helps us map our vision and reminds us to build the components of our day around maintaining that vision. Charting our progress is part of this vision that builds us up and helps us to stay motivated over the long run. ...more