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How to get more energy – and get more things done

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Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 9, 2016
Hello Fastlane Forum,

This post will (hopefully) teach you how to expand your energy reserves so that you can get more done, usually in less time.

I recently finished reading "The Power of Full Engagement" written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarts (guy who co-wrote The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump).

To give you a quick idea of the book, here is a quote from the first chapter:

“Every one of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours has an energy consequence, for better or for worse. The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have.”

The main idea behind the book is that managing energy, and not time is the key to high performance.

The book has some great content, and I thought I’d share some of the most powerful insights and best tips I got from the book.

First off, why manage energy, and not time?

Here’s why: You want to get more things done and still feel good after doing them.
Managing time is no guarantee that you’ll have the necessary energy to do whatever it is that you want to get done.

Say for example that you set aside 4 hours to get an important project done. If half of that time is consumed by you being tired, not being able to concentrate and that leads to you not getting it done in time, you just wasted that time (and energy)!

Therefore, it is better to manage your energy. Chances are that if you were 100% focused, fired up and invigorated, you would’ve gotten that work done quicker and with higher quality results too.

The 4 energy types

To manage energy you need to know what energy is.

The authors believe that there are 4 types of energy,
  1. Physical Energy
  2. Emotional Energy
  3. Mental Energy
  4. Spiritual Energy
Physical energy is the most fundamental of the energy types, and spiritual energy is the most significant. Without physical energy, the other energy types have a hard time being cultivated.
For the people who likes visuals, see image below:

To give you a deeper understanding of the different energy types, refer to this image:

“To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest. Full engagement begins with feeling eager to get to work in the morning, equally happy to return home in the evening and capable of setting clear boundaries between the two.”

In the book, the authors write that energy behaves the same way as muscles do.
Our energy capacity will get weaker with both overuse and underuse – therefore we must balance energy expenditure with recovery.

And just like a muscle, the key to building it and making it stronger is to push beyond our normal limits systematically and to recover afterwards. Not overusing it nor underusing it.

An example of overusing emotional energy could be living with a person that you constantly fight with and that makes you feel terrible. Feeling terrible for a prolonged time without any recovery (rest, hanging out with friends, feeling positive emotions) will drain you of your emotional energy both in the short term and in the long term. Short term you’ll feel bad, and long term you’ll have a more limited emotional energy capacity – which means you might get annoyed with people quicker and feel stressed easier.

On the contrary, underusing emotional energy can be just as bad. An example of this might be only feeling positive emotions, never arguing with people and never feeling sad. The result of this could be that you won’t be able to handle simple emotional challenges, and give up as soon as you face hardship and stress.

As stated earlier, to expand any energy capacity you must train the energy type like a muscle by exposing it to stress beyond its normal limits and then to recover afterwards.

Systematically overusing any energy without recovery will make the total energy capacity smaller.
Working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week on a mentally challenging task without any breaks wont expand your mental energy capacity, it’ll damage it. You won’t be able to concentrate as much anymore, and you won’t be as sharp – because you're overusing your mental energy. Just like a muscle, overuse is damaging.

The takeaways here are:
  1. Work on expanding your energy capacities, so that you have energy for things that are important.
  2. Use less energy on things that aren’t important.
How to use less energy on things that aren’t important (so that you have more energy for important things).

Think about it,
Every time you perform a task, you have 1 of these 3 motives:
  1. You do it because you're motivated to do it.
  2. You do it because you discipline yourself to do it.
  3. You do it out of habit.
You basically have three motives for doing stuff: motivation, discipline and habit.

Motivation is the most unreliable motive of all. Motivation can be there one day and disappear the next. We can’t rely on motivation to get things done in the long term.

Discipline can be useful in the short term, but long term discipline usually falls short. The human being is a notoriously lazy creature. And forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do repeatedly is energy draining. Chances are you’ll give up pretty soon if you rely on discipline.

Habits however are much more predictable than motivation – and they don’t drain you of energy the same way discipline does.

If you want to use less energy doing something, you need to make it a habit.

The best way to create a habit is by creating a highly specific routine and sticking to it until it becomes a habit.

For example, if you want to read a new book every week – the best way to accomplish this is by making a habit out of a routine.
My own personal routine is that I get up at 5AM every morning, grab a cup of coffee and a large glass of water, I then sit down on my sofa and read for an hour between 5:15 and 6:15. I do this every morning, and it’s second nature to me by now – it’s as natural as brushing my teeth. The fundamental part of this is the routines specificity.

It’s the same time every morning (5:15).
It’s the same place every morning (Sofa).
And yes, it’s even the same flavour of tea every morning (Yummy!).

I don’t spend any energy at all doing this. Getting up at 5AM isn’t hard and I don’t need to discipline myself into reading for an hour, I just do it out of habit.

In the beginning when building a habit, you might start off by being motivated, then you might need to discipline yourself to continue building the habit out of your routine. But once the routine has become a habit, motivation and discipline is no longer necessary.

Be careful: Trying to build several habits at once is a bad idea. You’ll end up spending lots of your precious energy trying to stick to your routines and not turning a single one into a habit.
Instead, build one habit at a time. According to the authors it takes up to 60 days for a routine to become a habit. Focus on building a new habit every 60 days and you’ll have more positive habits in place than you thought possible.

Thanks for reading.


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Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Oct 1, 2016
I disagree with time-based schedule routines. It may work for a majority just fine but for others, not so much.

Traditional habit books tell you about the cue-behavior-reward structure and then proceed to say the obvious like pick a set time etc.

But the problem with that is it feels restrictive and forced. For example, when you have to run at 3 PM everyday, that's inflexible. The pressure to perform that task messes up your willpower. At 3 PM I may feel like getting ice cream with the kids.

Instead, I personally have no cues. I just set a 24 hour deadline. Right before the deadline, I have to do my routine. It can be at any time (but not after the deadline) which is great. It's not forced or restrictive.

I don't feel pressured. I have no feelings of guilt. I don't have to commit to a set time cue. My routine is flexible.

Note: I'm not saying there's a wrong or right. Some habit formations depend on the individual. What might work for Joe may not work for Mary.
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New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Mar 14, 2017
Thank you for the awesome summary of the book. I agree its much more productive to make things a habit.

I have the same basic routine every morning at home and work. It isn't always exactly the same things at the same time but its the same things in the same time frame but sometimes extra things get thrown into the mix. Either way I have gotten very efficient with my routines and can easily add things as needed. I get much more done in the morning than in the evening when I am mentally and physically drained of energy.

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