Dear Dr. Sadaqat Ali,
The nature of my work involves public speaking. Training clients has been my bread and butter for the last fifteen years. I feel I was very energetic and enthusiastic when I started off in this line of work. But not anymore. In the beginning I felt very passionate and great. However, as time went by, I noticed that my energy levels started to decline. I now feel that I actually get exhausted in between the training sessions and therefore am unable to maintain the quality. As you have been involved in a similar line of work and I have seen you vibrant all the time, I would like to know how to sustain my energy levels during the trainings. I would also like to know what are the best practices in maintaining an optimal energy level.
It is quite understandable that you are concerned about your declining levels of energy during the training sessions as energy and enthusiasm are one of the key elements to conduct an engaging session.
If you are conducting a group session with low energy it will adversely affect the audience. Similarly, if the trainer remains active, energetic and engaged, the entire group can catch that positive energy. Feelings are contagious too, because human being have mirror neurons. However, when we talk about energy, it does not mean a strenuous twister of haphazard movements, fumbled-up gestures and high-pitch voices. It is all about adding a sense of liveliness and vibrancy to a learning environment. It is a skill that can be implemented after deliberate practice.
Most of us are chasing the wrong resource: hours in the day. Instead, we should focus on something entirely different: our energy.
A life style, in which, you “manage your energy and not your time” requires incredibly smart-work. It probably took me around 25 years just to fully grasp its meaning. And in this amount of time, I’ve turned my life upside down and changed my routine dramatically.
Whenever we struggle with workload rather than working overtime, we need to stop what we’re doing. Then we think about a better way to manage our energy. We call it “first thing first”.
When it comes to energy, there are four different elements. Your Physical energy defines the status of your health. Your emotional energy defines your happiness. Your mental energy means how well you focus on something? And your spiritual energy tells you as to why are you doing all of this?
These energies are not random by the way. This specific order is very natural. Physical energy comes first. It is naturally the base and foundation for any other energy you want to develop. So to answer your query, I will focus on the physical energy.
First Let’s dig in: It is going to be very tough to build out your other energies without taking care of your body first. To break it down further, in order to arrive at optimal physical energy, you need to gather these four elements: Nutrition, Fitness, Sleep and Renewal.
Our nutrition is very important, when it comes to productivity. After all, nutrition is our fuel. And yet, so many of us neglect what they eat every day. A typical graph of our glucose level shows that most of us base too much of their diet on the three standard meals throughout the day and get a spiky pattern of ups and downs. To optimize your graph, pick out three most important snacks to get your nutrition back to the natural demand of your body.
Moreover, reorganize how food is stored in your kitchen: “You are three times more likely to eat the first thing you see in your kitchen than the fifth thing you see.” Put the healthy things in reach and the not so healthy ones out of it.
Managing your energy is a learn able skill. First and foremost, respect your energy cycles. Giving your body major portion of carbohydrates (= energy) in the morning will give you all the fuel. Move more towards protein and fats in the evening so your body can refuel over night. It is equally important. I believe it applies equally for everyone trying to work with more energy.
Funnily enough, it almost appears to be a waste of time if we “just eat”. It seems such a fitting experience to watch TV, work, read or do anything while eating. The latest research reveals the exact opposite. Solely focusing on eating makes you a more efficient worker for any other task. The second element of great physical energy is how fit you are? It means how much oxygen your blood stream can transport at any given time. And working on your fitness level comes with great health benefits. It also serves as the most important element to energize you while on the job. Out of all possible habits and routines, the habit of exercise is by far the most powerful one. Exercise is a “cornerstone habit”. That means, you can build any other habit you want, by anchoring it with this habit. But, I am not in favour of going to the gym.
Going to gym and squeezing exercise in a short span of time by over exertion leads to exhaustion that defeats the very purpose of exercise. And then there are excuses that stop you from going to gym. I have beautifully interwoven exercise in my life by diluting it my entire day.
After developing a consistent exercise habit, I am basically ever ready to tackle any other challenge.
Now the next and the most important question:
Do you sleep enough to renew your body? It is important to focus on both light and deep sleep. It is most interesting to know if the amount of sleep drops below the appropriate level. Deep sleep serves as the most important element in renewing our brain and body cells. The research on sleep shows that it changes our cognitive functions entirely: “Working overtime doesn’t increase our output. It makes us stupid.”
Renewing your energy levels consciously is a big revolutionary tool. To better manage your renewal throughout the day, here are three quick ideas to help you get started. Take a nap, every day. Build a reading habit. It is a great way to catch up and get daily renewal. Develop a meditation habit. It is another fantastic way to get more renewal.
It is important to make sure that you engage with every participant present in the session before the training begins. You can engage with them by greeting them on their arrival, asking about their work or role and also find out the commonalities between them and yourself. Maintaining a smiling demeanor is also very crucial. You need to find a reason to laugh a little in order to create a lighter mood. You need to tell them non verbally that you are genuinely interested in their development.
Music can be played in the background when the guests are arriving and during every break it. Another helpful strategy is to engage the participants and encourage them to do the ‘talking’. This strategy will enable the participants to unconsciously share your workload.
There are few strategies that can be used during the session as well. Learn to use your space smartly by moving around adequately. Give them feedback while they are working on the group tasks or some exercises. Ask them few relevant questions or even resolve their queries too, without putting them off the track. Most importantly, make your sessions entertaining. Boredom is the enemy number one in your profession. Keep telling the engaging stories during the sessions. Repeating the same stuff while keeping in mind that you face different audience will make you bored. When I talk about entertaining sessions, it means entertaining for you. When you will enjoy every moment of your session, your audience is bound to do the same.
During the afternoons, always plan two short breaks of about 10 minutes each. Breathtaking photographs or viral videos should be played during the breaks or when the participants are taking their seats back again. In a nutshell, focus more on smart work rather hard work. For a greater capacity, building up your physical energy will put up the base for getting better at whatever it is you want to improve. Take care of your own momentum of energy which includes your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy. Take a walk outside during breaks or eat protein containing foods. Find more ways to keep your energy level up.