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Last Updated on December 28, 2017

How to Stay Awake and Energetic No Matter How Busy Your Schedule Is

How to Stay Awake and Energetic No Matter How Busy Your Schedule Is

Previously I wrote an article on Why I have a Morning Routine and How It Makes Me Sharper Every Day. I discussed my morning routine and some big picture reasons on why you should adopt one yourself. However, many people have asked me for a deeper and practical look into how I do these things. Specifically, I have been asked how I am able to wake up early and stay awake. So, let’s dive into those topics so you can live in the world you want to create!

You Can Live the Life You Want Only If You Know What You Want.

Increasing our energy and stamina is important on so many levels. The choices we make today will determine the life we live tomorrow.

We are living in the age of inactivity. Think about how much time you are wasting in front of a screen. What are you usually doing for extended periods of time while you are in front of a screen? You are probably sitting down and eating.

Dr. Nick Knight wrote about inactivity and how our culture of laziness is killing us.[1] Knight remarked,

“Yes, physical inactivity has its price tags. It is linked to the development of chronic health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, dementia, and cancer. It can make us feel bad about ourselves, guilty and frustrated, appeased only with the ever-alluring reward of inactivity – comfort, rest, and stress-free.”

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that lead to the ailments Knight discussed. Do any of these characteristics resonate with you?

  • Do you almost float around in your chair appearing to be oblivious to your surroundings?
  • Do you eat fast food while watching television for hours upon hours?
  • Assuming you are otherwise healthy, are you a person who has to ride in a motorized cart while at the supermarket or the zoo?
  • Do you sleep the day away?
  • Do you look like a Jelly-Filled Human?

You might recognize some of these characteristics from the movie WALL-E. These are the Axiom Humans or the citizens in the film.

    I only make these remarks in order to provide you a wakeup call or an awareness to the deadly life you could potentially be living. If these comments describe you, then it’s time to make a change.

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    A Jelly-Filled Human or a Hacker?

    I have created a phased approach to this high-energy lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the 4-Levels people typically fall into. Note that you do not have to start at Level 1 (not all of us begin as Jelly-Filled Humans!).

    • Level 1: Jelly-Filled Humans. This is a person living the Axiom Human lifestyle discussed earlier.
    • Level 2: Learning to Walk. This level is usually brought on by an awareness of living in Level 1. Once you are aware of who you are (a Jelly-Filled Human), you can now learn to walk.
    • Level 3: The Aware. This type of person is someone who understands that they should be exercising and living well, yet at the first sign of failure they give in. They are close and simply need a breakthrough in their mindset.
    • Level 4: The Hacker. This is the level we should strive to be. The Hacker is a person who has adopted this lifestyle and is continually searching for new hacks (or ways) to improve their life. They have more energy, stamina, and an overall healthier lifestyle than Levels 1-3 combined.

    So, how to become a Level 4 person?

    Energy and Stamina Hacks

    Let’s take a look at some of the energy and stamina hacks you can use and then we will develop an action plan to follow.

    Exercise Hourly

    I use a version of the Pomodoro Technique for physical exercise. Take a look at my approach in 5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You into Superman. Simply use a timer on your watch or phone, set the timer for every 30 or 60 minutes, then exercise.

    I have adapted my routine to look like this: 10 times a day – 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds, 40 curls. This is the best way to get your blood circulating and kickstart your metabolism every morning. Don’t forget to exercise while you travel… yes, be the weird person at the airport doing push-ups.

    Run

    The best form of exercise is to simply run. Run early in the morning. It is amazing what benefits this will bring. It will also bring about something called Neurogenesis. Read 10 Ways to Become Unstoppable for more on this topic.

    Planking

    If you only do one form of exercise (outside of running) this is the one you should do. Check out If You Can’t Hold This Pose for 50 Seconds, You Might Be Prone to Serious Health Problems for more details on planking.

    Practice Deep Breathing

    You must get quality sleep in order to stay awake longer and have more energy.

    Use the following 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Sit with your back straight, place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth (upper), inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Make sure you exhale completely, then close your eyes. Hold your breath for a count of 7, exhale through your mouth for a count of 8, then repeat the cycle three more times for a total of 4 breaths.

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    Two additional techniques are The Stimulating Breath[2] and Breath Counting.[3]

    Stand While You Work

    If I have to work in an office or the dreaded cubicle, I always stand. Purchase a standing workstation and refuse to sit down!

    Improve Your Posture.

    Most people have horrible posture. I found an increase in energy and stamina by simply practicing and using techniques to improve my posture. Doing this forces us to be alert and active.

    For suggestions on how to improve your posture, read 5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You Into Superman.

    Nootropic

    Otherwise known as smart drugs, these are cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory, motivation, creativity, and performance. Some of the best Nootropics come from the Racetam family, such as: Aniracetam and Piracetam. Read 5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain and find out more about Nootropics.

    Vitamin B-12

    This is the perfect vitamin to take if you are looking for a vitamin to take to boost your metabolism or provide an instant energy boost.

    Drink Bulletproof Coffee

    This is what I call Super Coffee! Bulletproof coffee is a high-performance drink that greatly boosts the energy and cognitive function. It’s easy to make, find out how to make it here.

    Drink More Water

    Drinking water will instantly give you more energy. In fact, you will feel drained and fatigued if you are dehydrated.

    Intermittent Fasting

    When we fast, our bodies metabolic shift lowers our leptin levels. Calorie-restriction brings about a process called autophagy, which cleans house and removes waste. It also enhances our brain cells and improves cognitive function.

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    There are many different ways to do this, let’s look at the 16-hour Fast: stop eating around 7-8pm. Wait until 12pm the next day to begin eating again.

    Stop Worrying So Much.

    Stop worrying about things that do not matter. If you worry about too many things or try to spend your day pleasing everyone else but yourself, then you will lose energy. You will fail to get sleep and you will spend your entire day with low stamina. Why waste energy worrying when you could use the same energy to visualize success?

    Take a Cold Shower

    If you find it hard to wake up or you simply need an immediate energy boost then take a cold shower.

    Get a Theme Song

    Listening to music will provide you an instant energy boost. Try creating playlists for each mood you would like to put yourself in. Apple Music is a perfect place to start.

    Go Outside.

    You will be amazed at the energy boost by simply going outside.

    Chew Gum

    For me, chewing Big Red gum provides me an instant energy boost and an increase in focus. Just make sure to smack your gum when you are around your spouse! They will love it!

    So, how can you put this all together?

    Putting It All Together: Meta-Questioning

    Step #1: Where are you currently?

    Figure out if you are operating at the level of a Jelly-Filled Human or a Hacker. Be brutally honest with yourself. Identify the people you surround yourself with, the relationships you are in, and the tensions or stress you are living in and around.

    Step #2: Where do you want to be?

    Now figure out where and who you want to be. Use the powerful technique of Meta-Questioning.[4]

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      Start reframing your questions. For example, change the following statements:

      • When you say: “I can’t do this.”
        Change this to: “What specifically can I not do?”
      • You say: “I can’t exercise.”
        Then ask: “What is stopping me?”
      • You say: “I don’t have time.”
        Now ask yourself: “What needs to happen for me to start exercising?”
      • You discover: “I can use the techniques identified in this article and create more time.”
        Then imagine how you could start exercising: “If I could exercise, how would I do it?”

      Step #3: What obstacles are impeding your progress?

      Next, figure out which obstacles are standing in your way and remove them. Use the techniques discussed in How to Make Irrational People Rationalpeel back the layers of a cause and dig deep into the root of each obstacle.

      After identifying the real obstacles that are blocking your from progressing, tackle them one by one, and layer by layer. The process will be challenging, but by breaking the challenges into smaller parts, they will be less overwhelming.

      Do or Do Not, There Is No Try.

      Yoda’s words are always wise.

      In the end, you have to want it. You have to be willing to work hard and suffer some short-term pain. Follow the advice here from C.T. Fletcher,

      “Suffer the pain of Discipline or suffer the pain of Regret!”

      Reference

      [1]Independent.co.uk: The age of inactivity
      [2]Dr. Well’s Breathing Exercise: The Stimulating Breath
      [3]Dr. Well’s Breathing Exercise: Breath Counting
      [4]Slideshare.net: The four magic questions that help resolve most problems

      More by this author

      Dr. Jamie Schwandt

      Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

      Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills for a Sharper Mind 10 Brain Training Hacks to Increase Your IQ, Focus and Creativity How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

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      How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

      How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

      How often do you think about your brain? Do you ever stop to marvel at its incredible power and supreme cleverness? Or at least check in and give it a little spring clean and a recharge it from time to time?

      If you’re like the majority, then your answer will likely be “no”.

      Astoundingly, we only use around 10% of our brains yet we seldom think to invest in a little training every now and then.

      For a long time, scientists believed that we were stuck with the brain we were born with! Luckily for us, that hypothesis has gone out the window!

      Enter neuroplasticity – a new theory that has proven one very incredible fact: Our brains can change.

      This means, if you’re not very intelligent in one area – that’s OK! You have the option to literally ‘change that area of your brain’ through some little trainings.

      Your brain is a muscle. You need to exercise it regularly.

      The exciting thing is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to increase your brain capacity. All you need to do is invest some time to regularly train your brain.

      So how to increase brain power?

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      Here are 10 simple ways to increase your brain power and improve your intelligence!

      1. Do something new

      When you experience something ‘new’, that actually ‘stimulate’ your brain!

      Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same old things – the only way to change the structure of your brain is to do something new. This creates new neural pathways, increasing your intelligence level.

      You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix them up!

      2. Ditch the GPS

      Gone are the days of map reading! Sat Nav may have made our lives easier, it has also made our brains lazier and less efficient at the same time!

      Go back to the old school and use a map to navigate every now and then. This exercises the part of your brain responsible for understanding spatial relationships.

      3. Ban the calculator

      Remember back at school when we were taught to use our brains to do simple sums like times tables? It’s incredible how we now rely on devices like smart-phones and laptops to calculate really simple equations.

      Resist the urge to work things out using an external device and use the device you were born with – your brain!

      4. Be curious

      Instead of taking everything at face value, get into the habit of questioning everyday things/products, services that you come into contact with.

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      By being ‘curious’ and questioning everything, you force your brain to innovate and create new ideas.

      Curiosity may have killed that cat but it created super important things like electricity and computers!

      5. Think positive

      Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created.

      Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.

      Try and get a handle on negative thoughts and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.

      Not sure how to do it? Take a look at this article:

      How to Turn Off Negative Thoughts in Your Mind

      6. Exercise regularly

      It’s been proven that regular exercise helps to increase brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise, you are creating new brain cells!

      Here’re 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise, get off the couch and get moving!

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      Your brain will thank you for it.

      7. Train your memory

      How often do you hear people say “I wish I had a better memory!’ Yet no-one does anything about this!

      If you discipline yourself to memorize phone numbers and other important numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license) you will start to see a marked improvement in your memory.

      8. Eat healthy

      Our diets have a HUGE impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20% of all nutrients & oxygen that we consumed – so remember to feed your brain with the good stuff! (i.e. fresh fruit and veg & plenty of OMEGA 3 oils found in oily fish)

      Here’re more healthy foods that will boost your brain power:

      10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

      9. Read a book

      Reading relieves tension and stress, which is brain-cell killers because it’s a form of escapism.

      Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain because you force your mind to ‘picture’ what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination!

      Reading every day helps your thinking and imagination, learn more about it here:

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      10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

      10. Get enough sleep

      Sleep is like a mini detox for the brain. This is when your body regenerates cells and removes all the toxins that have built up during the day.

      Get to bed between the hours of 9pm and midnight to benefit from the most effective hours of sleep!

      If you have difficulty sleeping, you should read this guide:

      The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

      An intelligent brain comes from hard work

      If you do take my suggestion and do these things consistently, you’ll soon realize your brain is sharper and you can remember more stuff.

      You don’t need to do everything all at once, pick one to two and start making them your daily habit.

      Intelligence comes from hard work. Make effort to train your brain and you’ll become smarter.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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