Mastering Productivity: Energy

This article is part of a four-article cross-blog series, all published today on different blogs. If you find this article useful, check out the other parts:
Mastering Productivity – a cross-blog series at How to be an Original
Mastering Productivity – Money at Dumb Little Man
Mastering Productivity – How to be more effective with your time at Zen Habits

Spend your energy wisely
When I talk about energy, I mean the energy we have inside us to do things. This energy can be divided into physical energy and mental energy, and I will be focusing on mental energy. I don’t know if it’­s possible to measure mental energy, but we can all relate to the concept. We have all experienced situations that were boring you out of your mind, or where you had to do things that you did not like to do. It makes you exhausted, even if you don’t have to do any physical activity at all, you feel the energy leaking out of your body on all sides.

This is mental energy. Some things cost us energy, and some things bring us energy. In that sense energy is a very special resource. If we spend it wise it grows bigger! That’­s when energy is at it most productive state, now how can we get there?

Energy in full effect
Effectiveness is the most important aspect. Knowing who you are and what you want in this life is the best way of ensuring you spend your energy effectively. And the best thing about spending energy effectively is that it doesn’­t cost us energy, it gives us energy!

This effect with energy is the best measurement of effectiveness on all other aspects as well. Activities that give us energy are activities congruent, or in line, with who we are and what we want. They take us further in the direction we want to be going with our life. So instead of giving ways to use your energy more effectively, it’s the other way around:

The energy effect will tell you if you are effective!

If we investigate the energy effect on our mental energy for the activities we do, we get valuable information. If we lose energy we’­re drifting off course, and if we gain energy we’re heading in the right direction. If you haven’­t defined what your direction (values, mission statement, mantra etc.) is yet, then the activities that give you positive energy will give important clues. Investigate them to get to know what’­s important to you and why.

Being energy efficient
Being energy efficient is doing things right with the energy you have. Doing things right means that when we spend energy doing things, we want to do them as good as possible. Activities that help us get where we want to be (effectiveness) may not give the desired effect, and that’­s when we lose efficiency in energy.

Most energy inefficiencies are caused by one of these causes:

  • Inexperience
    We haven’­t done this before, so we’­re uneasy where to start and how to do it. Again, just start doing it, and get some experience. Alongside you can learn about it some more. A powerful way is to find role models who are exceptionally good at this activity. Make sure you get a chance to observe them when they do what they do and learn from their experience.
  • Unattainable
    The desired state is still too conceptual and therefore unattainable. We haven’t made what we want clear enough. You can solve this by visualizing what you want, using mood boards or other ways of detailing a concept. Put the effort in detailing what you want, it will pay itself back along the way.
  • Insecurity
    We’­re not sure if this is exactly what we want or if it will bring us what we expect. Even if we know who we are and what we want, we may feel insecure about it. It’­s a signal you should not deny, as it might tell you that you haven’t matured enough on who you are and what you want. But it doesn’t matter as well, start anyway! Action is the best way of learning who you are and what you want, once you have your mind focused on that aspect. So pay attention to how you feel about the activity along the way. Executing the activity gives experiences that are beneficial to the strength of your vision.
  • Complexity
    Complexity is usually unnecessary and therefore a waste of energy. Making things easier or simpler is an effective method of improving efficiency on an energetic level. If it takes less brainpower to execute, it’­s easier to do, easier to maintain and easier to keep up.

Productive energy gives even more energy
You know that you’ve reached peak energy productivity when you reach the flow-state. Things appear to go as if in a flow, time fades to the background and you’­re totally focused on the activity at hand and you’­re having fun doing it and it takes you further on your path through life. Sounds pretty cool right?

Spend your energy on the right things (for you) in the right way (for you) and end up with even more energy to do the things you love to do! It’s an upward spiral of positive energy and creativity. This is the mindset of abundance in full effect on an energetic level.

This series consists of the following articles:
Mastering Productivity – a cross-blog series at How to be an Original
– Mastering Productivity – Money at Dumb Little Man
Mastering Productivity – How to be more effective with your time at Zen Habits
– Mastering Productivity – Energy at LifeDev

Leave a Comment

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • andar909 August 10, 2008, 10:44 pm

    hi, andar here, i just read your post. i like very much. agree to you, sir.

  • Bunk October 1, 2007, 3:15 pm

    I find the greatest way to measure ones energy efficiency is the amount of leveraging that one can implement. For instance if one can effectively use other tools or individuals and harness their energy, it ends up giving you more time to focus your energy elsewhere.

  • Ev Nucci September 28, 2007, 5:49 am

    I found your blog via Priscilla Palmers list. Congratulations for being on it as well! I find it fascinating. I like how you think…

    This is a very good article! I like it.

    Well done. I’m linking into you…I hope you’ll reciprocate. Best wishes.

  • Personal Growth September 27, 2007, 6:03 pm

    The energy efficiency list that you have mentioned on the list is really good but what i would want to suggest to you is that one should learn to use their energy wisely.

  • henriette weber andersen September 26, 2007, 1:30 am

    I like your energy inefficiencies list – but how you would explain the ineffeciency of boredom because of a project that you dont necessarily want to do ? this is what I feel is taking most of my energy. things that I have to do – that I don’t want to do…