Energy is required for us to achieve our goals – whatever those goals may be at work or in life. Therefore it makes sense to put a real focus on increasing energy levels.
Let’s face it, at work many people say they need more people. Adding more tired people to the tired people that are already there is generally the last thing that we need. We need our existing people to have more energy first, then we can entertain whether we need more people.
So often, we hear people blame their work for being tired. Situations like their volume of work being too high, or other co-workers dumping work on them at the last minute, back-to-back meetings, not having enough time to exercise, and the list goes on…
And while these sound like very plausible reasons, the fact remains that many of these things are actually within our control. And yet many people feel stuck, or even helpless, as though there is nothing they can do about it and therefore lack of energy is just par for the course.
Yikes – what a terrible way to live and work – to think that sub par is just how it is.
And it’s worth pointing out here that this lack of energy is probably coming from overspending cognitive energy, without replenishing it, which is leading to an overall drain.
Fair enough that not all employers make it easy to avoid burnout (we’ll get to them later) but there is a lot that people can do to manage their own energy.
For example, you may have 5 hours to do 10 hours’ worth of work. Were you open with those around you about your realistic capacity? That’s in your control.
Do you consistently find yourself in back-to-back meetings that you’ve accepted – even without the organiser sending you an agenda? Ah yep that’s on you too.
Do you find you don’t have enough time to do the exercise you want to, but you didn’t block out your calendar and treat it as a not-negotiable item… yep – also in your control.
So many people feel helpless like it’s every other external reason that is causing the tiredness without making even the smallest changes to take back some control. My question is always…what are you going to do about it?
I get that some things are genuinely outside of people’s control, but in many cases, there is a lot more that we can control than most people are willing to take responsibility for.
Leaders you’re not off the hook… not only do you have a responsibility to coach your team on how to manage their cognitive energy, but also to coach them around psychological safety and accountability.
People need to have the culture and frameworks in place to set themselves up for success and then have the best chance of implementing those plans.
So it’s a two way street – leaders need to provide the culture, frameworks and support, but people need to exercise responsibility for implementing these to maximise their energy.
Imagine if managing your own energy was a KPI. Would we see greater accountability in controlling some of these “systemic causes”? We say yes.
If you would like to discuss your collective cognitive energy in your company or team, please contact us to book your 45 min complimentary Performance Call.