3 Keys to Energizing Your Life and Work
Since we were little, we have been hearing about the importance of eating well, exercising and having a good night of sleep. Somehow paradoxically, though, as we grow up we tend to steer away from these concepts, for a reason or another (being busy at work, having a family, etc.). Did you know that there are 3 keys that aren’t difficult to make part of our everyday life, but have a big impact on our daily well-being? I recently sat down with health and well-being research, and best-selling author Tom Rath to talk about his new book the Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life.
Here are the key takeaways from our conversation on the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast. These are things you can do to live a fully-charged personal and professional life.
1. Do Meaningful Work Every Single Day (and Be Aware of It)
In a survey of 10,000 people, Rath and his research team found out that only 20% of the responders thought they had done some kind of meaningful work the prior day. The issue, according for Rath, isn’t necessarily the lack of meaningful work, but the lack of its acknowledgement. In other words, most of us do indeed do some meaningful during our days, but only a few are aware of it.
In order to look at what contributes to job satisfaction and well-being, Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile looked at the journal entries of 10,000 workers. The outcome of the study revealed that achieving small wins on a day-to-day basis has a big impact on our overall job satisfaction and well-being.
Let’s say you work as a chef. If you see a smile on the face of customers who are enjoying your food, you have got a (small) win. When we see the direct influence of our work on other people, we feel more motivated and compelled to keep doing a good job to positively impact other people’s lives.
2. Have More Positive Interactions on a Daily Basis
We all have interactions. With our family members, with the bus driver, with our colleagues, with our friends…and this is why, it’s imperative that we focus on having mostly positive interactions with them.
Psychological research, Rath explained, shows that a single negative interaction carries a much heavier load and negative charge, which supersedes that of three to five positive interactions. This means that having an exchange that creates a negative charge has a bigger impact on our mood and performance than a few positive interactions.
For Rath, we should follow a “80-20 rule”, where we spend 80% of our interactions focusing on the strengths, qualities and positive aspects of the people we’re talking to. We shouldn’t ignore the negative areas. However, we should try not to dedicate more than 20% of our interactions to that.
3. Focus on Your Own Health First
Many well-intended people put everybody’s health needs before their own. They’re generous right? Only to some extent. In fact, by putting our own health aside - in favor of others - we end up not being fully charged and not being able to bring our A-game.
If you don’t prioritize getting a good night of sleep, eating healthy and doing some activity, you are less likely to be as nearly as effective as you can be - especially when people are counting on you to be at your very best. Just think of the oxygen mask demonstration, whenever you’re on a plane: put your own oxygen mask first. If you don’t you risk to pass out and won’t be able to help others. The same goes for your health.
How to Get a Good Night of Sleep
In case you have been cutting down on your sleeping time, you should know that doing that has an impact on your mind. ‘Sleeping is the time when our mind processes what we learned the day before, and it’s what sets our day off on the right foot,’ said Rath.
So, what can you do to get a good night of sleep? On a conceptual level, you need to make sleeping more of a personal and family value. You should avoid, for instance, sending your children to sleep as a form of punishment. You should recognize the importance of sleeping and make sure you get a decent amount of sleep each night.
On a practical level, on the other hand, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, you can turn your room into a “cave”, a place that’s cooler and darker than what you’re used to during the day. It would be good, according to Rath, to avoid the light from electronic devices up to 1 hour before going to bed. This can be challenging, because of how we interact with laptops, tablets and smartphone… And in case you’re a light sleeper, you may want to consider using earplugs or similar things, that are going to prevent you from waking up regularly and interrupt your sleeping cycle.
The Danger of Chronic Inactivity
An interesting topic Rath touched on during our interview was the danger of chronic inactivity. The idea here is to try and avoid being seated for several hours in a row. If you’re sitting at your desk many hours each day, you should build little bursts of activity throughout your day. That can even be just taking a short stroll or stretching up a little. You just don’t want to be sitting in a chair for several hours, without doing any type of activity at all.
When it comes to cardiovascular activity, like going to the gym, jogging or riding your bike, try to do that in the morning. Statically, those who exercise during the first parts of their day get a mood boost that can last up to 12 hours.
Taking these steps is going to help you feel energized, more efficient and is going to contribute to you living a fully charged life.
About the author:
Author bio: Yannick "Yann" ilunga is the founder of 360 entrepreneur.net, a blog and training community for entrepreneurs and small business owners. He's also the host of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast, show that features inspiring conversations with A-Listers like Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Kim Garst, Bryan Kramer and Natalie Sisson. Connect with Yann on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.