Habits for High Productivity Days

The first thing you need to know about having a high productivity day tomorrow is that it starts with the last thing you do today.

Habit 1: End your day with a plan for the next day.

One of the biggest pits I see busy managers and leaders fall into is that they work to exhaustion and leave the office without setting a plan for what they need to get done the next day.

Starting the day with a plan for what you have to achieve is key to having a highly productive day. That plan can and should be crafted in advance so you can: Continue reading…

Breaks Work at Work

Odds are you could be far more effective at work if you didn’t spend quite so much time working.

One tenant of energy management and workplace effectiveness is to take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes. But convincing bright motivated people to take 5 or 6 breaks in a day is no easy task.
Continue reading…

BCB Communicator: Maximizing Sales Opportunities

Chris Obst’s article Maximizing Sales Opportunities, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how to improve sales potential by replenishing your energy.

I learned about resting from racing

My journey to do the Test of Metal epic mountain bike race started on January 1st. I was thrilled to be one of 1000 participants who got a limited entry spot that sold out in 22 minutes.

The training on and off the bike began then. It really was fun to get in better shape and better at biking at the same time. It was a great feeling to be focused on a physical test like this at 46. It also took a toll on my family life. For the last few weeks leading up to the race, I was AWOL on the home front a few times a week for 3 and 4 hours rides. Continue reading…

Management and energy insights from the slopes

I spent last week skiing with my family at Whistler, and the holiday inspired me to write something a little different this month!

1. Try an idea out. Push it a few times, if it still isn’t working try another idea.

chris-and-kidsOur trip started with a plan. My wife and I wanted to take the kids on a spring break ski week at one of the family-friendly resorts in the Okanagan. Our friends had raved about them.

But when I started calling around to make reservations (a few months ago) every place I called had problems. They were booked, or they didn’t get back to us. Continue reading…

Pick an event and go for gold

One way Olympic Athletes maintain focus is that they always train FOR something. They train for national competitions. They train for world championships. They train for the Olympics.

They summon the energy to get out there rain or shine because for them, exercise has a purpose.

You may not picture yourself taking the podium for the luge, but finding an event, or a physical challenge is a great way to shift your mindset from seeing exercise as a chore to seeing its purpose in your life. Continue reading…

Tap into an underexploited energy source: Your emotional energy

We all possess four distinct, yet interconnected sources of energy: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Most of us have a pretty good read on our physical and mental energy levels.

Energy reservesPhysical energy is about what your body can handle: you know your physical energy is low if you fall asleep on a conference call, or if you are dragging your butt to meetings.

Mental energy is about what your brain can handle: you know your mental energy is high if you’re able to analyze a dense report, or if you can make creative connections throughout the day.

Emotional energy is about what you can handle emotionally. It is often indicated by a person’s stress threshold, their breaking/boiling point, their ability to maintain a positive outlook, or their ability to motivate themselves and others. These are all critical factors for high performance at work and at home. Continue reading…

Holiday energy tips!

Do the holidays wear you out? Or are you already heading into the holidays wondering if you have the energy to do what everyone expects of you?

The holidays are fun, but they can also take a toll.

We race to get things finished up at work. Then there’s the shopping madness, the social engagements (pressures), and the family …fun.

My gift to my readers this year is a handful of energy tips that can help you get the most from the holiday season.

1.  Eat well Over the holidays treat your body to 80% light, healthy, energy boosting foods and 20% comforting, delicious holiday fare. And never “save up” calories by not eating, it will just backfire and you will overeat in the end. Continue reading…

Guest Blogger: Why I called Chris, and why I’m glad I did

I didn’t exactly embrace the concept of having a management coach. I had so much work, it just seemed like one more thing, and I thought it might be uncomfortable. Sending Chris that first email was pretty unsettling, but here’s why I did. I felt I wasn’t performing to my own expectations. And I believed I could do the job better.

When I started working with Chris, I was new to my management position, I was facing some very challenging issues in the department and I had what seemed to be an overwhelming number of things to do every day. Continue reading…

Prepare yourself for stress

Layoffs and cutbacks take their toll on us emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. There’s no point pretending otherwise.

I’m not going to tell you that eating nuts and apples between meals will make you feel better about some of the repercussions of this economic downturn.

What I do want to make abundantly clear is that you will benefit by training for the marathon of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual stress ahead. No more excuses. Continue reading…

Lighten up: biochemistry can beat the winter blues

There is plenty of research to suggest that your mood and energy are influenced by sunlight, and especially on the West Coast, sunlight is hard to come by this time of year.

Here’s the biochemical background on the winter blues:

  • Melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy. Researchers believe the pineal gland, located beneath the brain, makes melatonin in response to the amount of light that enters your eyes. The less light, the more melatonin, and the more melatonin, the more messages you get about being sleepy. Continue reading…

Exercise for your brain

Did you know your brain represents only 2% of your body weight and requires a greedy 20% of your energy? That’s one of those facts that’s kind of fun to pull out at a party … if you can remember it.

I’m guessing there are a lot of things that you wish you could remember. There are decisions you wish you could make quicker. And there are moments when you would do anything to be able to focus. Have you considered rock climbing? Continue reading…

Manage your energy: for everyone’s sake

Energy is contagious. If you come to work in a funk, your team can’t help but feel it. If you come in with positive, forward-looking energy, and you demonstrate that zeal all day long, your team will start to ride that wave with you.

Check CheckCheck, check, is this thing on?

Get in the habit of doing an energy check before work, before meetings, before big events and even before you head home.

Take a minute to think about your physical energy, your emotional energy, and your mental energy. Continue reading…

Energy: it’s more than physical

Energy management isn’t rocket science.

People immediately get that the energy management principals around diet, exercise, sleep, etc. improve their physical energy.

But I’ve noticed many professionals are able to de-prioritize their body, and thus de-prioritize energy management work.

There is a myth out there that unless you use your body to earn your living (i.e. professional athletes, fitness trainers, labourers), or are some kind of weekend triathlete, that you get no professional or personal gain from energy management. Continue reading…

Take a Vacation – for your energy

5 Reasons Why Taking Your Holidays Helps You!

  1. You need more than 2 days off. When you work the way you work (I know how it is) it is almost impossible to get full renewal in a weekend. Do you think Tiger Woods would be able to play the way he does if he had to swing the club 52 weeks of the year. Everybody needs an off-season to feed their game. Continue reading…

Rest to make better choices

We all need time to rest and reinvest in ourselves.

And we need to pay attention to the little signs that show up in our work that tell us (and the people around us) that we need a break. (By the way, collapsing with exhaustion isn’t a little sign, so don’t wait for that to book your vacation.)

I’ll share a little indicator that I experienced a couple of weeks back. Nod quietly to yourself if you’ve ever done this. Continue reading…

You’re Number 1: self-care

Safety Instructions“In the unlikely event of a sudden change in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above your seat. To activate the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you, place it over your mouth and nose, secure the elastic strap around your head and breathe normally. Please secure your own mask before helping children, or other passengers, who may need your assistance.”

People come up with a lot of reasons why they have to put themselves last. So it is interesting to consider that international policy requires people to take care of themselves first, and help others second. Why do they do that? Because anyone who needs your help, needs you at your best. Continue reading…

I was put to the full engagement test

I was invited to participate in an Human Performance Institute 3-day retreat in Florida last month, led by none other than HPI co-founder, CEO and best-selling author Dr. Jim Loehr. (He’s a pretty big Kahuna in my world.)

But let me tell you, it was also a lot of work.

There is nowhere to hide in the HPI compound. You go there to see yourself as you truly are – to get real about how you are currently performing, and to stretch your own limits. Continue reading…

Energy on the road

Frequently when I travel to give Energy Management keynotes, people say to me, “Yeah this is great,  and I do it at home, but how do you do it when you travel?”

The strategy I use, and what I recommend, is to ramp up your routines and be extra diligent.

Working in new environments has its perks, but travel stresses your system more than you might think. The hours in airports, or on the highway, the unfamiliar surroundings, people and demands, the reliance on restaurant food, when you are on the road you can’t help but lose control over certain aspects of your life.  So it’s up to you do the best you can with what you’ve got and give your system a fighting chance. Continue reading…

Invest and Rest

We are oscillatory beings. We live in waves.

Our heart rate goes up and down. Our brain waves go up and down. We breathe in. We breathe out. And if any of those patterns flat line, we’re in trouble.

At the most basic physical level, human life is a constant back and forth between stress and recovery; invest and rest.

Every time you reach for something, you strain.  When you attain it, you can relax. That’s how you grow. Continue reading…