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Your Energy Level Matters

I’ve always been a fairly high-energy person.

But in the last couple of years, my energy level has suffered, ever since my “wake-up call” (elevated heart rate over the course of several months). I wrote a little about it in 3 Steps I’m Taking to Manage Stress Better. While I’m mostly recovered from that experience, my energy levels are still recovering!

Where I notice it the most is with energy-intensive tasks that require heavy thinking, reflection, and intense study, which makes weekly sermon prep more challenging!

Tony Schwartz, who leads The Energy Project, writes in Fatigue is Your Enemy

it’s not the number of hours we work that determines the value we create. Rather, it’s the quality of energy we bring to the hours we work. By renewing regularly, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, at a higher level of quality, more sustainably. When we’re less fatigued, we’re not only less prey to negative emotions, we’re also more likely to access the positive ones we need to feel to perform at our best.

So, managing your energy level is vitally important. In stewardship language, we must be good stewards of our energy level.

Here’s how I’m trying to manage my energy level …

1. Make the most of my early morning routine.
I find that if I get up early to spend time with God, exercise, and read, the rest of my day is much more productive and enjoyable. My energy level is higher. This has always been important for me; it’s even more important with kids!

2. Eat well.
I’ve always been interested in healthy nutrition, but my discipline doesn’t always match my desire. Still, over the past two years, I’ve dramatically reduced my intake of sugar (it effects my heart rate), which cuts out most junk food. What you eat can affect your energy level.

3. Rest.
Stopping to rest a little everyday, sometime during the day, will always be a challenge for me. Between work and family obligations, there always seems to be something going on. But, I know I need to carve out time each day, and a day each week, to rest and catch my breath.

4. Hydrate.
Lately, I’ve been drinking more water. CamelBak has a lot of good info on hydration. They say a “recent study found that almost half of men and women are not drinking enough water.” Their ten facts about hydration include: hydration keeps your heart rate lower, longer, and dehydration is the number one cause for afternoon fatigue. Another article states, “drinking water helps keep … your energy levels and focus maximized.”

5. Do high-energy tasks when my energy is highest.
Unfortunately, I don’t always do this well. But, I know I should work on energy-intensive tasks when my energy levels are highest. My energy levels are highest in the mornings, so I should work on sermons and other high energy tasks in the mornings. And, I should use the afternoons for things that don’t require as much energy.

How’s your energy level? What do you to do improve your energy?

If this is something you’re struggling with, you may be interested in my review of “Leading on Empty” by Wayne Cordeiro.

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